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* * * Research 
Service— 


Congressional 



FDA Regulation of Cosmetics and 
Personal Care Products 

Amalia K. Corby-Edwards 

Analyst in Public Health and Epidemiology 

July 9 , 2012 


Congressional Research Service 


7-5700 


CRS Report for Congress- 

Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress 


www.crs.gov 

R42594 





FDA Regulation of Cosmetics and Personal Care Products 


Summary 

The 1938 Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) granted the Food and Dmg 
Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate cosmetic products and their ingredients. The 
statutory provisions of the FFDCA that address cosmetics include adulteration and misbranding 
provisions. In addition to the FFDCA, cosmetics are regulated under the Fair Packaging and 
Labeling Act (FPLA) and related regulations. The cosmetics provisions were amended by the 
Color Additive Amendments Act of 1960 and the Poison Prevention Packaging Act, but remain 
basically the same as the provisions in the 1938 FFDCA. 

FDA’s authorities over cosmetic products include some of those applicable to other FDA- 
regulated products, such as food, dmgs, medical devices, and tobacco. For example, FDA has the 
authority to take certain enforcement actions—such as seizures, injunctions, and criminal 
penalties—against adulterated or misbranded cosmetics. Additionally, as with dmg and food 
companies, FDA may conduct inspections of cosmetic manufacturers and prohibit imports of 
cosmetics that violate the FFDCA. The agency also has issued mles restricting the use of 
ingredients that the agency has determined are poisonous or deleterious. 

However, FDA’s authority over cosmetics is less comprehensive than its authority over other 
FDA-regulated products with regard to registration; testing; premarket notification, clearance, or 
approval; good manufacturing practices; mandatory risk labeling; adverse event reports; and 
recalls. For example, FDA does not impose registration requirements on cosmetic manufacturers. 
Rather, cosmetic manufacturers may decide to comply with voluntary FDA regulations on 
registration. With the exception of color additives, FDA does not require premarket notification, 
safety testing, review, or approval of the chemicals used in cosmetic products. Cosmetic 
manufacturers also are not required to use good manufacturing practices (GMP)—although FDA 
has released GMP guidelines for cosmetic manufacturers—nor required to file ingredient 
information with, or report adverse reactions to, the agency. Instead, under a voluntary FDA 
program, cosmetic manufacturers and packagers may report the ingredients used in their product 
formulations. FDA does not have the authority to require a manufacturer to recall a cosmetic 
product from the marketplace, although the agency has issued general regulations on voluntary 
recalls. The agency’s ability to issue regulations on cosmetic products is limited by the agency’s 
statutory 7 authorities or lack thereof. 

As a result, cosmetics are arguably more self-regulated than other FDA-regulated products. The 
manner in which a cosmetic product could or should be regulated, however, is not always clear. 
FDA’s guidelines have provided the cosmetic industry with considerable flexibility for product 
development and claims. The question remains as to whether that flexibility and the extent of 
government oversight of cosmetic products are still appropriate. 


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FDA Regulation of Cosmetics and Personal Care Products 


Contents 

Introduction.1 

Cosmetics, Dmgs, and Combination Products.2 

Cosmetics.2 

Dmgs.3 

Cosmetics Containing Drug Ingredients.3 

Overview of FDA’s Authority to Regulate Cosmetics.5 

Adulterated and Misbranded Cosmetics.7 

Adulteration.8 

Misbranding and Mislabeling Claims.8 

Enforcement.9 

Voluntary Recalls.10 

Premarket Approval.11 

Testing and Safety of Cosmetic Ingredients.13 

Cosmetic Ingredient Review Program.14 

Consumer Concerns About the Safety of Ingredients.15 

Concerns About Specific Ingredients.16 

Color Additives.17 

Coal Tar Hair Dyes.18 

Nanomaterial higredients.19 

Nanotechnology Task Force.21 

Draft Guidance Regarding the Use of Nanomaterials in FDA-Regulated Products.21 

Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program.22 

Reporting of Adverse Reactions to Cosmetics.24 

Other Concerns with Labeling.25 

“Organic” Labeling Claims on Cosmetic Products.26 

“Not Tested on Animals” Labeling.28 

“For Professional Use Only” Labeling.29 

Conclusion.30 

Appendixes 

Appendix. Keratin Hair Treatments, Also Known as “Brazilian Blowouts”.31 

Contacts 

Author Contact Information.39 

Acknowledgments.40 


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FDA Regulation of Cosmetics and Personal Care Products 


Introduction 

The U.S. cosmetic, beauty supply, and perfume retail industry consists of approximately 13,000 
establishments, with annual revenue of about $10 billion. 1 Worldwide, the cosmetics and personal 
care products industry has more than $250 billion in annual retail sales. 2 According to economic 
census data released in 2009, the U.S. cosmetic industry employs over 86,000 people.' 

The cosmetic market includes numerous personal care products that have many uses beyond the 
facial makeup that one typically thinks of when the term “cosmetics” is used. Industry sales are 
concentrated in the following areas (percentage of sales by product category): (1) cosmetics, face 
cream, and perfume—75%; (2) hygienic products including deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, 
hair color, and shaving products—20%; and (3) small appliances—4%. 4 The typical industry 
consumer is a woman between the ages of 25 to 55, although there appears to be increasing 
growth in marketing to men and tweens (9- to 12-year-olds). 5 Sales of cosmetic and personal care 
products may be affected by a consumer’s personal income, although the “sales of basic personal 
items such as soap, shampoo, and shaving products are likely to be less impacted by a soft 
economy than other product areas viewed by consumers as more discretionary.” 6 Prices for 
cosmetics vary widely, and depend on whether the product is a “prestige,” mass market, or a 
professional or salon use brand. 7 

The Food and Dmg Administration (FDA) reportedly regulates $62 billion worth of cosmetics. 8 
FDA’s primary responsibilities for regulating cosmetics include ensuring that cosmetics are not 
adulterated or misbranded. This report describes the differences between cosmetics, dmgs, and 
combination products; provides an overview of the statutory provisions and mles under which 
FDA regulates cosmetics; and provides an overview of industry self-regulation programs. The 
report also includes an appendix on keratin hair treatment products, also known as “Brazilian 
Blowouts.” This report focuses on FDA regulation of cosmetics and does not discuss Federal 
Trade Commission regulation of advertising of cosmetics nor the regulation of potentially 
dangerous chemicals or pesticides by other agencies, with the exception of formaldehyde and 
other agents that may produce or lead to the production of formaldehyde. 10 


1 First Research, Industry Profile, Cosmetics, Beauty Supply, and Perfume Stores, May 23,2011. 

2 Personal Care Products Council, About Us, http://www.personalcarecouncil.org/about-us/about-personal-care- 
products-council. 

3 U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 Economic Census, Sector 44: Retail Trade: Industry Series: Preliminary Summary 
Statistics for the United States, Cosmetics, Beauty Supplies, and Perfume Stores, September 29,2009. 

4 First Research, supra note 1. 

5 First Research, Industry Profile, Personal Care Products Manufacturing, May 16,2011. 

6 Loran Braverman, CFA, Standard & Poors, NetAdvantage, Sub-Industry Review: Personal Products, 
http://www.netadvantage. standardandpoors. com/NASApp/NetAdvantage/ showSublndustryReview. do?subindcode= 
30302010; First Research, supra note 5. 

7 First Research, supra note 5. 

8 Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Fiscal Year 2013, Food and Drug Administration, Justification of 
Estimates for Appropriations Committees , http://www.fda.gov/downloads/AboutFDA/ReportsManualsForms/Reports/ 
BudgetReports/defaulthtm, p. 103. 

9 21 U.S.C. §§361, 362; Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) §§601, 602. 

10 Under the Federal Trade Commission Act, “[i]t shall be unlawful for any person ... to disseminate, or cause to be 
disseminated, any false advertisement—(1) By United States mails, or in or having an effect upon commerce, by any 
means, for the purpose of inducing, or which is likely to induce, directly or indirectly the purchase of... cosmetics; or 
(continued...) 


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FDA Regulation of Cosmetics and Personal Care Products 


Cosmetics, Drugs, and Combination Products 

This section discusses the Federal Food, Dmg, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) definitions of 
cosmetics and drugs, and how the FFDCA differentiates between cosmetics and a cosmetic that 
also meets the statutory definition of a dmg. Classification of products is a concern for 
manufacturers, as cosmetics are not subject to the same approval, regulatory, or registration 
requirements as drugs. 11 In addition to saving considerable time and expense, this distinction 
allows manufacturers of products that are only cosmetics and not drugs or combination products, 
discussed later, to market their products with less regulatory oversight. 


Cosmetics 

The term “cosmetics” covers a broad range of FDA-regulated products that may be used 
externally, orificially, and internally. 12 For regulatory purposes, the term “cosmetics” includes 
products for the eyes, face, nails, hair, skin, and mouth, which may be in the form of products 
such as makeup, polish, hair dyes and coloring, sunscreens, fragrances, shave gel, oral care and 
bath products, and products for infants and children. 13 hi some settings, cosmetics are known as 
“personal care products” because of the wide range of products now regulated as cosmetics that 
are not strictly facial cosmetics. For purposes of this report, “cosmetics” will be used to refer to 
the entire category of products being discussed. 

The FFDCA defines “cosmetics” as “(1) articles intended to be mbbed, poured, sprinkled or 
sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body or any part thereof for 
cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance, and (2) articles 
intended for use as a component of any such articles; except that the term shall not include 
soap.” 14 While soap was explicitly exempted from the definition of a cosmetic, and is not defined 
in the FFDCA, it is defined in FDA regulations. 1 " Additionally, coal tar hair dye was provided a 
limited exemption from the FFDCA’s adulteration provisions. 16 


(...continued) 

(2) By any means, for the purpose of inducing, or which is likely to induce, directly or indirectly, the purchase in or 
having an effect upon commerce, of... cosmetics.” 15 U.S.C. §52. Additionally, cosmetics are explicitly excluded from 
the definition of “consumer product” in the Consumer Product Safety Act, which is enforced by the Consumer Product 
Safety Commission. 15 U.S.C. §2052(a)(5)(H). 

11 21 U.S.C. §359; FFDCA §509. 

12 Examples of cosmetics “that may be introduced into the body are limited, but include mouthwashes, breath 
fresheners, and vaginal douches.” John E. Bailey, Organization and Priorities of FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and 
Colors , Cosmetic Regulation in a Competitive Environment, Norman F. Estrin & James M. Akerson, eds., p. 217,2000. 

13 21 C.F.R. §720.4(c)(12). 

14 21 U.S.C. §321(i); FFDCA §201(i). 

15 The FDA has defined soap in its regulations as applying only to articles for which “(1) [t]he bulk of the nonvolatile 
matter in the product consists of an alkali salt of fatty acids and the detergent properties of the article are due to the 
alkali-fatty acid compounds; and (2) [t]he product is labeled, sold, and represented only as soap.” 21 C.F.R. §701.20(a). 
A product intended not only for cleansing but also for other cosmetic uses such as beautifying, moisturizing, or 
deodorizing would be regulated by FDA as a cosmetic. A soap-like product may also be a drug, if it is intended to cure, 
treat, or prevent disease or to affect the structure or any function of the human body. 21 U.S.C. §321(i)(2); FFDCA 
§201(i)(2). 

16 21 U.S.C. §361(a); FFDCA §601(a). 


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FDA Regulation of Cosmetics and Personal Care Products 


Drugs 

The FFDCA defines a “dmg” as including articles “intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, 
mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease,” articles that are “intended to affect the structure 
or any function of the body,” and “articles intended for use as a component” of such dmgs. 17 

Unlike cosmetics and their ingredients (with the exception of color additives), dmgs are subject to 
FDA approval before they can enter interstate commerce. Dmgs must either receive the agency’s 
premarket approval of a new dmg application 18 or conform to a set of FDA regulations known as 
a monograph. Monographs govern the manufacture and marketing of over-the-counter (OTC) 
dmgs and specify the conditions under which OTC dmgs in a particular category (such as 
antidandmff shampoos or antiperspirants) will be considered to be generally recognized as safe 
and effective. 19 Monographs also indicate how OTC dmgs must be labeled so they are not 
deemed to be misbranded. 2 ’ Such labeling includes a Dmg Facts panel, which provides a listing 
of the active ingredients in the product as well as the dmg's purposes, uses, and applicable 
warnings, directions, inactive ingredients, other information, and a telephone number for 
questions about the product. 21 

Dmg manufacturers must comply with good manufacturing practices (GMP) mles for dmgs; 
failure to follow GMP may cause a dmg to be considered adulterated. 22 Dmg manufacturers also 
are required to register their facilities, list their dmg products with the agency, and report adverse 
events to FDA. 2 ' 

Cosmetics Containing Drug Ingredients 

While reference to “cosmetic dmgs” or “cosmeceuticals” has been used by some proponents in 
referring to combination cosmetic-dmg products, there is not an FDA statutory or regulatory 
definition for this terminology. 24 Cosmetic-dmg combination products are subject to FDA’s 


17 21 U.S.C. §321(g); see Amity Hartman, FDA’s Minimal Regulation of Cosmetics and the Daring Claims of Cosmetic 
Companies that Cause Consumers Economic Harm, 36 W. St. L. Rev. 53, 58 (2008)(noting that manufacturer 
intentions affect the classification of a products). The intended use of a product is displayed by several factors 
including claims stated on the product labeling, in advertising, or other promotional materials; consumer perception and 
the products reputation; and, ingredients that may cause the product to be considered a drug by industry standards or 
public perception. See FDA, Is It a Cosmetic, a Drug, or Both (Or Is It Soap?), July 8,2002, http://www.fda.gov/ 
Cosmetics/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/ucm074201 .htm. 

18 21 U.S.C. §355; FFDCA §505. A new drug application (NDA) is the process through which drug sponsors propose 
that FDA approve a new pharmaceutical for sale and marketing in the United States. Among other considerations, the 
agency approves a NDA after examining reports and investigations that demonstrate the drug’s safety and 
effectiveness. 

19 21 C.F.R. Part 350; 21 C.F.R. §§358.701-760. 

20 A monograph is a set of rules promulgated by the FDA for a number of OTC drug categories. These OTC drug 
monographs may state the types of active ingredients, including a list of specific active ingredients, indications, usage 
instructions, warnings and other labeling requirements for a given category of OTC drugs. 

21 21 C.F.R. §201.66(c). 

22 21 U.S.C. §355(a)(2)(B); FFDCA §501(a)(2)(B). 

23 For information on some FDA requirements related to drugs, see FDA, Drug Application and Approval Process - 
“Questions and Answers,” http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/CentersOffices/CDER/ucml97608.htm. 

24 “Cosmeceuticals combine cosmetics and pharmaceutical benefits, and may contain patented ingredients or have 
dermatologist endorsements. Cosmeceutical sales are expected to grow faster than the overall cosmetics and toiletries 
(continued...) 


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regulations for both cosmetics and dmgs. Combination dmg and cosmetic products must meet 
both OTC dmg and cosmetic labeling requirements, that is, the dmg ingredients must be listed 
alphabetically as “Active Ingredients,” followed by cosmetic ingredients either listed in a 
descending order of predominance as “Inactive Ingredients” or listed as “Inactive Ingredients” in 
particular groups, such as concentrations of greater than one percent of color additives. 25 

The determination of whether a cosmetic is also a dmg, and therefore subject to the additional 
statutory requirements that apply to dmgs, is based on the distributor’s intent or the intended 
use 26 The intended use of a product may be established in several ways, such as claims on the 
labeling or in advertising or promotional materials, or through the inclusion of ingredients that 
will cause the product to be considered a dmg because of a known therapeutic use. For example, 
if a lipstick (a cosmetic) contains sunscreen (a dmg), the mere inclusion of the term “sunscreen” 
in the product’s labeling will cause the product to also be regulated as a dmg 27 The text box 
below provides examples of other combination products and compares cosmetic versus dmg 
classifications. 


Comparison of Cosmetic and Drug Product Classifications 

A suntan product is a cosmetic, but a sunscreen product is a drug. 

A deodorant is a cosmetic, but an antiperspirant is a drug. 

A shampoo is a cosmetic, but an antidandruff shampoo is a drug. 

A toothpaste is a cosmetic, but an anticavity toothpaste is a drug. 

A skin exfoliant is a cosmetic, but a skin peel is a drug. 

A mouthwash is a cosmetic, but an antigingivitis mouthwash is a drug. 

A hair bulking product is a cosmetic, but a hair growth product is a drug. 

A skin product to hide acne is a cosmetic, but an antiacne product is a drug. 

An antibacterial deodorant soap is a cosmetic, but an antibacterial anti-infective soap is a drug. 

A skin moisturizer is a cosmetic, but a wrinkle remover is a drug. 

A lip softener is a cosmetic, but a product for chapped lips is a drug. 

Source: Peter Barton Hutt, “Legal Distinction in USA between Cosmetic and Drug,” in Cosmeceut/ca/s and Active 
Cosmetics: Drugs versus Cosmetics, p. 630 (Peter Eisner & Howard Maibach, eds., 2 nd ed. 2005). 


(...continued) 

market, according to Scientia Advisors.” First Research, Industry Profile, Cosmetics, Beauty Supply, and Perfume 
Stores, May 23,2011. 

25 21 C.F.R. §70.3(a), (f) (setting forth the required designations of ingredients for the labeling of cosmetic products). 

26 58 Fed. Reg. 28194,28204 (May 12,1993) “When an ingredient can be used for either drug or cosmetic purposes, its 
regulatory status as a drug or cosmetic, or both, is determined by objective evidence of the distributor’s intent.” 

27 21 C.F.R. §700.35 “A product that includes the term 'sunscreen’ in its labeling ... comes within the definition of a 
drug. ... [T]he use of the term 'sunscreen’ or similar sun protection terminology in a product’s labeling generally 
causes the product to be subject to regulation as a drug.” 


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FDA Regulation of Cosmetics and Personal Care Products 


Overview of FDA's Authority to Regulate Cosmetics 

The FFDCA prohibits the adulteration and misbranding of cosmetics and the introduction, receipt, 
and delivery of adulterated or misbranded cosmetics into interstate commerce. 28 A cosmetic is 
considered to be adulterated if, among other reasons, it contains a substance which may cause 
injury to users under the conditions of use prescribed on the product's labeling or if it contains a 
filthy, putrid, or decomposed substance 29 A cosmetic is considered to be misbranded if its 
labeling is false or misleading, if it does not bear the required labeling information, or if the 
container is made or filled in a deceptive manner. 30 

Prior to the enactment of the FFDCA in 1938, cosmetics were not regulated by the federal 
government, 31 but were regulated under a collection of state laws that had been enacted to 
regulate food and drugs. 32 At that time, several “cosmetics and dmgs were made from the same 
natural materials'’ and the “laws did not include explicit definitions of the products regulated/’ 33 
Following several incidents in which cosmetics were allegedly the cause of serious health 
problems, as well as industry concerns about states enacting their own laws, provisions were 
included in FFDCA that prohibited the sale of adulterated or misbranded cosmetics in interstate 
commerce.’ 4 The FFDCA also established uniform regulation of FDA-regulated cosmetic 
products throughout the country. 35 

hi addition to the FFDCA, cosmetics are regulated under the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act 
(FPLA) and related regulations. ’ 0 The FPLA applies to the packaging and labeling of “consumer 
commodities,” which include cosmetics “customarily produced or distributed for sale through 
retail sales agencies or instrumentalities for consumption by individuals, or use by individuals for 
purposes of personal care ... and which [are] usually consumed or expended in the course of such 
consumption or use.” 37 For the purposes of “for professional use only” labeling, discussed later, 
the FPLA does not apply to “wholesale or retail distributors of consumer commodities, except to 
the extent that such persons (1) are engaged in the packaging or labeling of such commodities, or 
(2) prescribe or specify ... the manner in which such commodities are packaged or labeled.” 38 


28 21 U.S.C. §331(a)-(c); FFDCA §301(a>(c). 

29 21 U.S.C. §361; FFDCA §601. 

30 21 U.S.C. §362; FFDCA §602. In addition to the FFDCA, the Fair Packaging Act and Labeling Act (FPLA) requires 
cosmetic labels to comply with specific guidelines. If cosmetics are found to be in violation of the FPLA statutory or 
regulatory provisions, they are considered misbranded for the purposes of the FFDCA. 15 U.S.C. § 1456(a); see also 
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Key Legal Concepts: “Interstate Commerce,” “Adulterated,” and “Misbranded,” 
http: //www. fda. go v/Co smetics/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInfoimation/ucm074248.htm. 

31 S. Comm, on Commerce, S. Rep. No. 91,75 th Cong., p. 5, 1937. 

32 Peter Barton Hutt, A History of Government Regulation of Adulteration and Misbranding of Cosmetics, in Cosmetic 
Regulation in a Competitive Environment, Norman F. Estrin & James M. Akerson eds. 2000. 

33 Ibid at 2. 

34 Hutt, supra note 32, p. 5-6; Jacqueline A. Greff, Regulation of Cosmetics That are Also Drugs , 51 Food & Drug L. J. 
243, 244 (1996). 

35 Hutt, supra note 32, p. 2-3, 6. 

36 15 U.S.C. §1451 etseq. 

37 15 U.S.C. §1459(a). 

38 15 U.S.C. § 1452(b). 


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FDA Regulation of Cosmetics and Personal Care Products 


The FFDCA statutory provisions that address cosmetics, with the exception of those regarding 
color additives, have remained basically unchanged since 1938, although the cosmetic industry 
today encompasses a greater number of products with different uses than those on the market 
more than seventy years ago. However, concerns of consumer and industry groups today are 
similar to those expressed prior to the enactment of the FFDCA. Consumer groups have raised 
concerns about particular ingredients, and states have considered legislating in areas not covered 
by the FFDCA or federal regulations. 39 

If a cosmetic that is introduced into, in, or held for sale after shipment in interstate commerce is 
found to be adulterated or misbranded, FDA may take enforcement actions, such as seeking an 
injunction (which could prevent a company from making or distributing the violative product), 
seizing the violative product, or seeking criminal penalties. 40 Additionally, FDA has authority to 
prevent imports of violative cosmetic products from entering the United States 41 

FDA’s authority to regulate cosmetics also includes the authority to conduct inspections of 
cosmetic establishments, without notifying the establishments in advance, as long as the 
inspections occur “at reasonable times and within reasonable limits and in a reasonable 
manner.” 42 FDA conducts inspections to assure product safety and to evaluate cosmetic products 
for potential adulteration or misbranding violations. 4 ’ The agency may decide to inspect a facility 
based on consumer or industry complaints, the establishment’s compliance history, or FDA 
surveillance initiatives. 44 The agency may collect samples for examination and analysis during 
plant and import inspections, and follow up on complaints of adverse events alleged to be caused 
by a given cosmetic product. 4 " The agency does not have a required schedule for inspecting 
cosmetic facilities. 

FDA has certain regulations and procedures for cosmetics with which manufacturers voluntarily 
may choose to comply, even though similar regulations and procedures are mandatory for other 
FDA-regulated products. For example, FDA has regulations on voluntary facility registration and 
voluntarily reporting for ingredients used in cosmetic products and adverse reactions to 
cosmetics. 46 hi contrast, registration requirements exist for other FDA product manufacturers 47 
Additionally, cosmetic manufacturers are not required, as drug manufacturers are, to “file data on 
ingredients, or report cosmetic-related injuries to FDA.” 48 Instead, under a voluntary FDA 


39 Personal Care Products Council, A Dynamic Industry at Work: 2008 Annual Report, p. 5, 
http://www.personalcarecouncil.org/sites/default/files/2008CouncilAnnualReport.pdf; The Campaign for Safe 
Cosmetics, State Legislation, http://safecosmetics.org/article.php7kN345. 

40 21 U.S.C. §§331-334; FFDCA §§301-04. 

41 21 U.S.C. §381; FFDCA §801. 

42 21 U.S.C. §374(a); FFDCA §704(a). 

43 FDA, Inspection of Cosmetics: An Overview, http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ 
GuidanceComplianceRegulatorylnformation/ComplianceEnforcement/ucml 36455 .htm. 

44 Ibid. 

45 Ibid; FFDCA §704(c). 

46 21 C.F.R. Parts 710, 720; FDA, Bad Reaction to Cosmetics? Tell FDA, http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ 
ConsumerUpdates/ucm241820.htm. 

47 21 U.S.C. §350d (food); 21 U.S.C. §360 (drugs and devices); 21 U.S.C. §387e (tobacco). 

48 FDA Authority Over Cosmetics, http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/ 
ucm074162.htm; Donald R. Johnson, Not in my Makeup: The Need for Enhanced Premarket Regulatory Authority 
Over Cosmetics in Light of Increased Usage of Engineered Nanoparticles , 26 J. Contemp. Health L. & Policy 82, 114, 
2009. 


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FDA Regulation of Cosmetics and Personal Care Products 


program, cosmetic manufacturers and packagers may report the ingredients used in their product 
formulations 49 Furthermore, consumers and cosmetic manufacturers may voluntarily report 
adverse reactions to cosmetics to FDA. Finally, FDA does not have mandatory recall authority to 
require a cosmetic manufacturer to recall a product from the marketplace. However, the agency 
may request a voluntary recall, and FDA has issued general regulations on the conduct of 
voluntary recalls that outline the agency’s expectations of manufacturers during a recall. 50 While 
FDA does not have the authority to require compliance with these regulations, FDA may take 
action against adulterated or misbranded cosmetics." 1 

FDA’s authority over cosmetics is less comprehensive than its authority over other FDA-regulated 
products with regard to GMP; premarket notification, clearance, or approval; testing; and 
mandatory risk labeling." 2 As an example, cosmetic producers are not required to use GMP unless 
their cosmetics are also dmgs. FDA has released GMP guidelines for cosmetic manufacturers, 53 
and has stated that “[f]ailure to adhere to GMP may result in an adulterated or misbranded 
product.” 54 With the exception of color additives, FDA does not require premarket notification, 
safety testing, or premarket review or approval of the chemicals used in cosmetic products . " 

Also, unlike dmgs, cosmetic products are not required to meet FDA requirements for safety and 
effectiveness. 56 


Adulterated and Misbranded Cosmetics 

As previously noted, the FFDCA prohibits the adulteration or misbranding of cosmetics, and the 
introduction, receipt, and delivery of adulterated or misbranded cosmetics into interstate 
commerce." 7 If a cosmetic that is introduced into, in, or held for sale after shipment in interstate 


49 21 C.F.R. §720.4. 

50 21 C.F.R. Part 7, Subpart C. 

51 FFDCA §§301-04. 

52 The FDA’s authority over cosmetic products is based primarily on the FFDCA provisions on cosmetics, color 
additives, and drugs. The agency also has authority under the FPLA for labeling requirements. Other agencies may use 
their own authorities to regulate certain aspects of cosmetic products, e.g., the Federal Trade Commission regulates the 
advertising of cosmetics. 

53 21 C.F.R. Parts 210 and 211; FDA, Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Guidelines/Inspection Checklist, 
http: //www. fda. go v/Co smetic s/ GuidanceComplianceRegulatorylnformation/ 

GoodManufacturingPracticeGMPGuidelinesInspectionChecklist/default.htm. In 1977, the FDA issued a “notice of 
intent to propose regulations” for the “preservation of cosmetics coming in contact with the eye,” in which the FDA 
indicated it “expects to promulgate all-inclusive regulations delineating good manufacturing practice for cosmetics at 
some point, and [the FDA Commissioner] intend[ed] to propose regulations regarding microbial preservation of 
cosmetics coming in contact with the eye as a first step. 42 Fed. Reg. 54837, 54837, October 11,1977. The industry 
trade association—Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association, now the Personal Care Products Council—reportedly 
“filed a petition describing the industry’s preferred cosmetic GMPs,” which were reportedly included by FDA for a 
time into the agency’s Investigative Operations Manual. Greff, supra note 31, p. 246. 

54 FDA, Inspection of Cosmetics: An Overview, http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ 
GuidanceComplianceRegulatorylnformation/ComplianceEnforcement/ucml 36455 .htm. 

55 21 U.S.C. §379e; 21 U.S.C. §359. Premarket approval for color additives was established in 1960 with the Color 
Additive Amendments of 1960. P.L. 86-618. A color additive is basically defined as a substance that, when added or 
applied to a cosmetic or the body, is capable of imparting coloring. Examples of cosmetics with color additives include 
lipstick, blush, and eye makeup. 21 U.S.C. §321(t). 

56 21 U.S.C. §355; FFDCA §505. 

57 21 U.S.C. §331(a)-(c); FFDCA §301(a)-(c). 


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FDA Regulation of Cosmetics and Personal Care Products 


commerce is found to be adulterated or misbranded, FDA may take enforcement actions. The 
following sections describe the parameters of the adulteration and misbranding of cosmetics. 


Adulteration 


A cosmetic is deemed adulterated—and potentially may be subject to FDA enforcement actions— 
if it 

• “bears or contains any poisonous or deleterious substance which may render it 
injurious to users under the conditions of use prescribed in the labeling”; 

• consists of “any filthy, putrid, or decomposed substance”; 

• was “prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby it may have 
become contaminated” or “rendered injurious to health”; 

• is in a container composed of “any poisonous or deleterious substance which may 
render the contents injurious to health”; or 

• contains an unsafe color additive, except for hair dyes. 58 


FDA has issued rules restricting the use of some ingredients in cosmetic products, such as those 
that it has determined are poisonous or deleterious, which would cause the cosmetic to be 
adulterated . 9 One example of an adulterated cosmetic is the use of henna for a temporary skin 
decoration known as mehndi 60 While the color additive used in these products is approved for 
hair dye, it is not permitted for skin contact. 51 Therefore, under FDA regulations, the use of the 
dye product in mehndi makes the product “adulterated/’ 62 


Misbranding and Mislabeling Claims 

Cosmetic products that do not comply with FPLA requirements are considered misbranded under 
FFDCA, if they meet the FPLA’s definition of “consumer commodities,” discussed below. 63 64 
Additionally, under FFDCA, cosmetics will be deemed to be misbranded, if 


58 21 U.S.C. §361; FFDCA §601; 21 C.F.R. §740.18. “The coal tar hair dye exemption allows coal tar hair dyes, not 
intended for use on eyelashes or eyebrows, to be marketed to consumers, even if they have been found to be injurious 
to the user under conditions of use.” Bailey, supra note 12, at 220. The label for coal tar hair dye products must contain 
the statutorily-required caution statement in order to not be considered to be adulterated, as well as “adequate directions 
for conducting such preliminary testing,” which are not specified by the FDA, but rather have been set as a self- 
evaluation patch test with a wait time of 48 hours by the industry-established Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR). p. 
219-20. If the coal tar hair dye product does not contain that information, the coal tar dye is “subject to regulation as a 
cosmetic coal additive and must be approved by FDA and listed in the CFR before marketing.” p. 220. In 1952, a 
congressional committee report recommending the elimination of the coal tar hair dye exemption. Hutt, supra note 32, 
p. 25. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) also issued a report in the late 1970s recommending the 
elimination of this exemption. Ibid. p. 27. 

59 21 C.F.R. §700.19—Use of methylene chloride as an ingredient of cosmetic products. 

60 Henna is “a coloring made from a plant” that is directly applied to the skin “in the body-decorating process known as 
mehndi.” FDA, Temporary Tattoos & Henna/Mehndi, http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductandIngredientSafety/ 
Productlnformation/ucml 08569. htm. 

61 FDA Import Alert 53-19, October 2,2009. 

62 Ibid. 

63 15 U.S.C. §§1451 etseq. 


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• the “labeling is false or misleading in any particular”; 

• the label lacks required information; 65 

• required labeling information is not prominently placed with conspicuousness 
and “in such terms as to render it likely to be read and understood by the ordinary 
individual under customary conditions of purchase and use”; 

• the “container is so made, formed, or filled as to be misleading”; 

• use of a color additive does not conform to packaging and labeling requirements; 
or 

• the packaging or labeling violates the regulations issued under the Poison 
Prevention Packaging Act of 1970 66 

Consumer commodity (retail) cosmetic products subject to the FPLA are required to bear a label 
with the identity of the product and the name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, 
or distributor, as well as the net quantity of contents on the label’s principal display panel. 67 The 
net quantity of contents information on a package’s label must be declared in a legible type size 
that is uniform for packages of about the same size. 6S FDA's ingredient labeling mles, issued 
under the authority of the FPLA, require ingredients to be listed on cosmetic products in 
descending order of predominance 69 


Enforcement 

Consumer organizations and interested persons may submit citizen petitions to FDA asking the 
agency to determine that a cosmetic is adulterated if it contains a particular deleterious 


(...continued) 

64 15 U.S.C. § 1456(a). However, while the FDA may take enforcement action against consumer commodity products 
that are considered misbranded because they do not conform to FPLA provisions, the penalty provisions of the FFDCA 
that could be sought for products deemed misbranded under the FFDCA do not apply to products deemed to be 
misbranded because they violate the FPLA’s provision on unfair and deceptive packaging and labeling. That FPLA 
provision makes it unlawful for persons engaged in packing or labeling consumer commodities to distribute, or cause to 
be distributed, a consumer commodity in a package or with a label that does not meet the FPLA provisions. 15 U.S.C. 
§1452(a); 15 U.S.C. §1456(a). 

65 21 C.F.R. §701.11 (identity labeling); 21 C.F.R. §701.12 (name and place of business or manufacturer, packer, or 
distributor); 21 C.F.R. §701.13 (declaration of net quantity of contents); 21 C.F.R. 701.3 and 21 C.F.R. §21.66 
(designation of ingredients, including active drug ingredients if the cosmetic product is also an over-the-counter drug 
product); 21 C.F.R. §1.21 (failure to reveal material facts on labeling); 21 C.F.R. Parts 700 and 740 (warning language 
or requirements for certain cosmetic products). 

66 21 U.S.C. §362; FFDCA §602. FDA regulations provide that “[t]he labeling of a cosmetic which contains two or 
more ingredients may be misleading by reason ... of the designation of such cosmetic in such labeling by a name which 
includes or suggests the name of one or more but not all such ingredients, even though the names of all such ingredients 
are stated elsewhere in the labeling.” 21 C.F.R. §701.1(b). FDA regulations also provide that “[a]ny representation in 
labeling or advertising that creates an impression of official approval because of [the filing of Form FDA 2512, 
Cosmetic Product Ingredient Statement] will be considered misleading.” 21 C.F.R. §720.9. 

67 The principal display panel is “that part of a label that is most likely to be displayed, presented, shown, or examined 
under normal and customary conditions of display for retail sale.” 15 U.S.C. § 1459(f); 21 C.F.R. §701.10. 

68 15 U.S.C. § 1453(a)(3); 21 C.F.R. §701.2—Form of stating labeling requirements. 

69 15 U.S.C. § 1454(c)(3); 21 C.F.R. §701.3(a). However, the FDA’s regulation does “not require the declaration of 
incidental ingredients that are present in a cosmetic at insignificant levels and that have no technical or functional effect 
in the cosmetic” such as processing aids. 21 C.F.R. §701.3(1). 


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substance. 70 For example, in 1996, FDA denied such a petition after conducting a review of the 
cosmetic ingredient urocanic acid and “concluding] that the scientific evidence did not establish 
urocanic acid to be a deleterious substance.” 71 

If a cosmetic is deemed adulterated or misbranded, FDA may take enforcement actions. 
Enforcement actions may include seeking an injunction (which could prevent a company from 
making or distributing the violative product), seizing the violative product, or seeking criminal 
penalties. 72 Additionally, a cosmetic company may be subject to a product liability lawsuit for a 
product that could be deemed to be adulterated, misbranded, or that lacks adequate warning 
statements. 73 


Voluntary Recalls 

FDA does not have authority to order a mandatory recall of a cosmetic product, hi contrast, the 
agency has the authority to order recalls of food, 74 infant formula, 75 medical devices, 76 human 
tissue products, 77 and tobacco products. 78 Even though FDA may not order a mandatory recall, 
FDA may request that a company voluntarily recall cosmetic products. 7 Manufacturers or 
distributors may undertake voluntary recalls to remove violative products from the market that 
are hazardous to health, defective, or grossly deceptive, and “against which the agency would 
initiate legal action.’ ,8() If a manufacturer or distributor is unwilling to remove dangerous products 
from the market without FDA’s written request to do so, the agency may issue a request for a 
product recall. 81 

The agency monitors a firm that conducts a product recall, and the agency may take an active role 
in monitoring a recall by reviewing the Finn’s status reports and conducting its own audit checks 
to verify the recall’s effectiveness. 82 FDA evaluates the health hazard presented by the product 
and assigns a classification to indicate the degree of hazard posed by the product under recall, 
whether it is a cosmetic or another FDA-regulated product (see text box). 8 ' Either FDA or the 


70 Bailey, supra note 12, p. 218. 

71 Ibid 

72 21 U.S.C. §§331-334; FFDCA §§301-04. 

73 Nicole Abramowitz, The Dangers of Chasing Youth: Regulating the Use of Nanoparticles in Anti-Aging Products, 
2008 U Ill. J.L. Tech. & Policy 199, p. 208-09, Spring 2008. 

74 21 U.S.C. §3501. 

75 FFDCA §412(f). 

76 FFDCA §518(e). 

77 42 U.S.C. §264; 21 C.F.R. §1271.440. 

78 FFDCA §908(c). 

79 21 C.F.R. §7.40(b); FDA Regulatory Procedures Manual, Ch. 7: Recall Procedures, http://www.fda.gov/downloads/ 
ICECI/ComplianceManuals/RegulatoryProceduresManual/UCM074312 .pdf. 

80 21 C.F.R. §7.3(g); 21 C.F.R. §7.40(a). 

81 21 C.F.R. §7.45. 

82 21 C.F.R. §7.53. 

83 21 C.F.R. §7.41. 


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cosmetic company will issue public notification of the recall. 84 The firm is responsible for the 
disposition of the recalled product, whether it is destroyed or brought into compliance. 85 


Classification of Recall by Degree of Health Hazard 

FDA evaluates the health hazard presented by the product and assigns a classification to indicate the degree of hazard 
posed by the product under recall. 

Class I is a situation in which there is a reasonable probability that the use of, or exposure to, a violative product will 
cause adverse health consequences or death. 

Class II is a situation in which use of, or exposure to, a violative product may cause temporary or medically 
reversible adverse health consequences or where the probability of serious adverse health consequences is remote. 

Class III is a situation in which use of, or exposure to, a violative product is not likely to cause adverse health 
consequences. 


Source: 21 C.F.R. §7.3(m). 

Premarket Approval 

In contrast to FDA's authority over drugs and some devices, FDA does not have the authority to 
require premarket approval of cosmetics or their ingredients, except for color additives. 80 Because 
there are no statutory requirements for premarket approval of cosmetic ingredients, manufacturers 
are responsible for substantiating the safety of their products and ingredients before the products 
are marketed. 87 Failure to adequately substantiate the safety prior to marketing causes the product 
to be considered misbranded, unless it bears a warning label that states: “The safety of this 
product has not been determined.” 88 However, because that warning label seems to be rarely used, 
consumers may be under the impression that cosmetics have been demonstrated to be safe. 89 The 
Government Accountability Office (GAO) has noted that FDA's regulation requiring warning 
labels “cannot be effectively enforced because FDA does not have the authority to require 
cosmetic manufacturers to test their products for safety or make their test results available to 
FDA.” 90 


84 21 C.F.R. §§7.42(b)(2), 7.50. 

85 21 C.F.R. §§7.53,7.55. 

86 FFDCA §721; FDA, FDA Authority Over Cosmetics, http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ 
GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/ucm074162.htm. 

87 FDA, FDA Authority Over Cosmetics, supra note 86. The FDA has said that “the safety of a product can be 
adequately substantiated through (a) reliance on already available toxicological test data on individual ingredients and 
on product formulations that are similar in composition to the particular cosmetic, and (b) performance of any 
additional toxicological and other tests that are appropriate in light of such existing data and information. Although 
satisfactory toxicological data may exist for each ingredient of a cosmetic, it will still be necessary to conduct some 
toxicological testing with the complete formulation to assure adequately the safety of the finished cosmetic.” FDA, 
Cosmetic Products: Warning Statements/Package Labels, 40 Fed. Reg. 8912, 8916, March 3,1975; FDA, Cosmetics, 
Product T esting, http: //www. fda. go v/C osmetics/ProductandlngredientSafety/ProductTesting/default. htm. 

88 21 C.F.R. §740.10. 

89 Bailey, supra note 12, p. 218, stating that “[n]o product has ever been encountered in retail commerce that bears the 
warning statement specified in 21 CFR 740.10.” 

90 The Food and Drug Administration’s Regulation of Cosmetics: Before the Subcomm. on Oversight and Investigations 
of the House Comm, on Interstate and Foreign Commerce , p. 4, February 3, 1978, statement of Gregory J. Ahart, 
Director, Human Resources Division, GAO. 


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FDA, however, has restricted the use of certain ingredients in cosmetics or required warning 
statements on the labels of certain types of cosmetics (see textbox below). For example, FDA 
issued a rule banning the use of methylene chloride in cosmetics after concluding “that methylene 
chloride is a poisonous or deleterious substance that may render cosmetic products injurious to 
users,” due to the potential cancer risks of exposure to the substance 91 If a cosmetic were to 
contain methylene chloride, it would be considered adulterated, and FDA could take an 
enforcement action. 

Except for color additives and those cosmetic ingredients that are prohibited or restricted for use 
by a specific regulation, any ingredient used in the formulations of cosmetics is allowed, provided 
that the safety of the ingredient has been adequately substantiated, it is properly labeled, and its 
use does not cause the product to be adulterated or misbranded under the law. FDA’s guidance 
document on inspections of cosmetic product manufacturers discusses several other ingredients 
that investigators should document if they are used in cosmetic products. 92 


91 54 Fed. Reg. 27328,27340, June 29,1989; 21 C.F.R. §700.19(b), “Any cosmetic product that contains methylene 
chloride as an ingredient is deemed adulterated and is subject to regulatory action under sections 301 and 601(a) of the 
[FFDCA] ” 

92 For example, acetyl ethyl tetramethyl tetralin (AETT) was “voluntarily discontinued” by the fragrance industry in 
1978 after it “was found to cause serious neurotoxic disorders and discoloration of internal organs” in a 1977 toxicity 
study of rats. FDA, Cosmetic Product Manufacturers (2/95), Guide to Inspections of Cosmetic Product Manufacturers, 
http: //www. fda. go v/ICECI/Inspections/InspectionGuides/ucm074952 .htm. 


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FDA Regulations for Certain Cosmetic Ingredients or Products 

FDA has either restricted the use of the following ingredients in cosmetics or required warning statements on the 
labels of certain types of cosmetics. 

21 C.F.R. §250.250 Hexachlorophene 

21 C.F.R. §700.1 I Cosmetics containing bithionol 

21 C.F.R. §700.1 3 Use of mercury compounds in cosmetics including use as skinbleaching agents in cosmetic 
reparations also regarded as drugs 

21 C.F.R. §700.14 Use of vinyl chloride as an ingredient including propellant of cosmetic aerosol products 
21 C.F.R. §700.1 5 Use of certain halogenated salicylanilides as ingredients in cosmetic products 
21 C.F.R. §700.1 6 Use of aerosol cosmetic products containing zirconium 
21 C.F.R. §700.18 Use of chloroform as an ingredient in cosmetic products 
21 C.F.R. §700.19 Use of methylene chloride as an ingredient of cosmetic products 
21 C.F.R. §700.23 Chlorofluorocarbon propellants 

21 C.F.R. §700.27 Use of prohibited cattle materials in cosmetic products 
21 C.F.R. §700.35 Cosmetics containing sunscreen ingredients 

21 C.F.R. §740.10 Labeling of cosmetic products for which adequate substantiation of safety has not been obtained 
21 C.F.R. §740.1 I Cosmetics in self-pressurized containers 
21 C.F.R. §740.12 Feminine deodorant sprays 
21 C.F.R. §740.1 7 Foaming detergent bath products 
21 C.F.R. §740.19 Suntanning preparations 

Source: Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations. 

Testing and Safety of Cosmetic Ingredients 

FDA has advised cosmetic Finns to employ appropriate and effective testing to substantiate the 
safety of their products. 9 " However, the FFDCA does not specify how cosmetic products and their 
ingredients are to be tested. 94 As mentioned earlier, manufacturers are responsible for 
substantiating the safety of both the ingredients and finished cosmetic products prior to 
marketing. 95 

Traditional testing of cosmetic ingredients has used animal models to evaluate the safety of the 
ingredients on the human body. The tests used historically include measures of skin irritancy, eye 
irritation, allergic reactions, and toxicity caused by various ingredients used in the manufacture of 


93 21 C.F.R. §740.10. 

94 FDA, Cosmetics and U.S. Law, http://www.fda.g 0 v/C 0 smetics/Intemati 0 nalActivities/C 0 smeticsU.S.Law/ 
default.htm. 

95 21 C.F.R. §740.10; FDA, Cosmetics Q&A: Animal Testing, http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ResourcesForYou/ 
Consumers/Co smeticsQA/ucml 67216.htm. 


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cosmetics on several different animals, including rabbits, mice, rats, and guinea pigs. 96 Animal 
testing is allowed to be used to establish product safety. 97 

While concerns about the safety of cosmetics have been raised over the years, animal rights 
advocates have sought an end to animal testing. 98 FDA has said that it follows applicable laws on 
animal testing, such as the Animal Welfare Act. 99 Additionally, the agency has outlined its support 
for alternatives to whole-animal testing: 

FDA supports and adheres to the provisions of applicable laws, regulations, and policies 
governing animal testing, including the Animal Welfare Act and the Public Health Service 
Policy of Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Moreover, in all cases where animal 
testing is used. FDA advocates that research and testing derive the maximum amount of 
useful scientific information from the minimum number of animals and employ the most 
humane methods available within the limits of scientific capability ... We also believe that 
prior to use of animals, consideration should be given to the use of scientifically valid 
alternative methods to whole-animal testing. ... 

FDA supports the development and use of alternatives to whole-animal testing as well as 
adherence to the most humane methods available within the limits of scientific capability 
when animals are used fortesting the safety of cosmetic products. We will continue to be a 
strong advocate of methodologies for the refinement, reduction, and replacement of animal 
tests with alternative methodologies that do not employ the use of animals. 100 


Cosmetic Ingredient Review Program 

Although the FFDCA does not specify how ingredients in cosmetic products are to be tested, the 
cosmetic industry’s trade association—the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC)—has 
established a Cosmetic higredient Review (CIR) program to review the safety of cosmetic 
product ingredients, based on published and unpublished data on individual ingredients. The 
purpose of the CIR program "is to detennine those cosmetic ingredients for which there is a 
reasonable certainty in the judgment of competent scientists that the ingredient is safe under its 
conditions of use.” 101 

Under the CIR program, an expert panel reviews cosmetic ingredients based on an annual priority 
list of ingredients currently used in commercially available cosmetics, which is based upon Ahe 
number of different products in which an ingredient is used” as obtained from the Voluntary 


96 Helen Northroot, Substantiating the Safety of Cosmetic and Toiletry Products, Cosmetic Regulation in a Competitive 
Environment, Norman Estrin & James Akerson, eds., 2000. 

97 FDA, Animal Testing, http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductandIngredientSafety/ProductTesting/ucm072268.htm. 

98 For example. The Humane Society of the United States, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), and 
the American Anti-Vivisection Society have campaigns against animal testing for cosmetics. Humane Society, “’Be 
Cruelty Free’ Campaign Launches to End Cosmetics Testing on Animals,” http://www.humanesociety.org/news/ 
press_releases/2012/04/be_cruelty_free_campaign?042312.html; PETA, Cosmetics and Household-Product Animal 
Testing, http: //www.peta. org/ issues/ animals-used-for-experimentation/co smetic-household-products-animal- 
testing.aspx; and, American Anti-Vivisection Society, Who We Are, http://www.aavs. 0 rg/site/c.bkLTKfOSLhK 6 E/ 
b. 6452345/k.24B 3/Who_We_Are. htm. 

99 FDA, Animal Testing, supra note 97; P.L. 89-544. (codified as amended at 7 U.S.C. §2131 etseq.). 

100 FDA, Animal Testing, supra note 97. 

101 CIR, Cosmetic Ingredient Review Procedures, October 2010, p. 4, http://www.cir-safety.org/pdfl.pdf. 


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i no i m 

Cosmetic Registration Program as well as "toxicological considerations/’ Panelists analyze 
data and determine whether an ingredient is (1) safe for the uses and concentrations in the safety 
assessment; (2) unsafe and therefore unsuitable for use in cosmetics; (3) safe, with qualifications, 
as in it can be used under certain conditions; or (4) an ingredient for which data are insufficient. 104 
Although CIRs ingredient findings are published, the cosmetic industry is not required to follow 
CIR findings. 105 

As of February 2012, CIR has determined 1,398 ingredients “safe as used”; 106 987 ingredients 
safe with qualifications; 43 ingredients with insufficient data to support safety; and 11 
ingredients “unsafe for use in cosmetic products.” 109 

hi addition, the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) “conducts a companion 
program to review the safety of fragrance ingredients” that includes a “systematic evaluation of 
fragrance ingredients used in cosmetic products.” 110 

Consumer Concerns About the Safety of Ingredients 

hi 2004, concerns raised about the safety of some cosmetics led to the creation of a national 
coalition of environmental, health, labor, consumer, and women’s groups called the Campaign for 
Safe Cosmetics. 111 The Campaign is concerned about what it believes to be a growing body of 
evidence that suggests a connection between certain chemicals and long-term health effects such 
as cancer and reproductive problems. Of particular concern are the health effects of 
nitrosamines, 112 lead and other heavy metals, 113 parabens, 114 phthalates, 115 hydroquinone, 116 and 
1,4-dioxane. 117 


102 The Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program is discussed in greater detail infra. 

103 CIR, Cosmetic Ingredient Review Procedures, October 2010, p. 11, http://www.cir-safety.org/pdfl.pdf. 

104 CIR, General Information, How Does CIR Work?, http://www.cir-safety.org/info.shtml. 

105 Gary L. Yingling and Suzan Onel, Cosmetic Regulation Revisited , Fundamentals of Law and Regulation, Vol. I, p. 
333, Robert P. Brady et al., eds. 1997. 

106 CIR, Cosmetic ingredients found safe as used (through February 2012), available at http://www.cir-safety.org/ 
supplementaldoc/ safe-used. 

107 CIR, Cosmetic ingredients found safe, with qualifications (through February 2012), http://www.cir-safety.org/ 
supplementaldoc/ safe-qualifications. 

108 CIR, Cosmetic ingredients with insufficient data to support safety (through February 2012), http://www.cir- 
safety. org / cir-findings. 

109 CIR, Ingredients found unsafe for use in cosmetics (through February 2012), http://www.cir-safety.org/ 
supplementaldoc/unsafe-ingredients. 

110 RIFM, a nonprofit corporation, works in part to “encourage uniform safety standards related to the use of fragrance 
ingredients.” The corporation reportedly has the world’s largest database of flavor and fragrance materials, with more 
than 5,000 materials, RIFM, About Us, http://www.rifm.org/about.php. 

111 The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, http://www.safecosmetics.org/. 

112 “Cosmetics containing as ingredients amines and amino derivatives ... may form nitrosamines, if they also contain 
an ingredient which acts as a nitrosating agent... Many nitrosamines have been determined to cause cancer in 
laboratory animals. They have also been shown to penetrate the skin.” FDA expressed its concern about the 
contamination of cosmetics with nitrosamines in a Federal Register notice dated April 10,1979, which stated that 
cosmetics containing nitrosamines may be considered adulterated and subject to enforcement action. FDA, Cosmetic 
Product Manufacturers: Guide to Inspections of Cosmetic Product Manufacturers, http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/ 
Inspections/InspectionGuides/ucm074952.htm. 

113 “FDA has not set limits for contaminants, such as lead, in cosmetics. However, FDA does set specifications for 
(continued...) 


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Beginning in 2004, the Campaign asked cosmetic companies to sign the Compact for Safe 
Cosmetics, which was a voluntary pledge by companies to take steps including disclosure of all 
ingredients, publication of product information in an ingredient database, and substantiation of 
“the safety of all products and ingredients with publicly available data.” 118 More than 1,500 
companies have signed the pledge to remove hazardous chemicals and replace them with safe 
alternatives within three years. 119 

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has also issued reports, which cover subjects such as 
contaminants in children’s bath and personal care products. 120 The Environmental Working 
Group—a member of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics—maintains a database of cosmetic 
product ingredients and related safety information. 121 


Concerns About Specific Ingredients 

Some ingredients used in cosmetic products have received particular attention as a result of 
concerns about their potential health risk. For example, questions have been raised about the 
accuracy of ingredient statements and the adequacy of safety warnings on product labels for 
keratin hair treatment products containing formaldehyde. Concerns have also arisen 


(...continued) 

impurities, such as lead, for color additives used in cosmetics.” FDA, Lipstick and Lead: Questions and Answers, 
http: //www. fda. go v/Co smetics/ProductandlngredientSafety/Productlnformation/ucm137224.htm. 

114 FDA, Parabens, http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductandIngredientSafety/SelectedCosmetidngredients/ 
ucml28042.htm. “Companies use parabens to extend the shelf life of products and prevent growth of bacteria and fungi 
in, for instance, face cream. ... [S]ome think that parabens may be linked to breast cancer and fertility issues.” Alene 
Dawson, ‘Paraben-free V Should You Care?, LA Times, May 8,2011, latimes.com/features/image/la-ig-beauty- 
parabens-20110508,0,1400441 .story. 

115 Phthalates are “a group of chemicals used in hundreds of products, such as ... nail polish, hair sprays, soaps, and 
shampoos.” FDA, Phtalates and Cosmetic Products, http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductandIngredientSafety/ 
SelectedCosmeticIngredients/ucml28250.htm. Also CRS Report RL34572, Phthalates in Plastics and Possible Human 
Health Effects , by Linda-Jo Schierow and Margaret Mikyung Lee. 

116 “Hydroquinone is a skin bleaching ingredient used to lighten areas of darkened skin.” FDA, Hydroquinone Studies 
Under The National Toxicology Program (NIP), http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/CentersOffices/CDER/ 
ucm203112.htm. 

117 “The compound 1,4-dioxane is a contaminant that may be present in extremely small amounts in some cosmetics. It 
forms as a byproduct during the manufacturing process of certain cosmetic ingredients. ... However, 1,4-dioxane itself 
is not used as a cosmetic ingredient.” FDA, 1,4-Dioxane, http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductandIngredientSafety/ 
PotentialContaminants/ucml 01566.htm. 

118 The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, What is the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, http://www.safecosmetics.org/ 
article.php?id= 341. 

119 The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, FAQ: The Compact for Safe Cosmetics, http://www.safecosmetics.org/ 
article .php?id=284# compact .http: //www.nottoopretty. org/article .php?id=2 84 

120 The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, No More Toxic Tub: Getting Contaminants Out of Children’s Bath & Personal 
Care Products, http://www.safecosmetics.org/downloads/NoMoreToxicTub_Mar09Report.pdf. 

121 Environmental Working Group, Skin Deep Database, About the Environmental Working Group, 
http: //www. ewg. org/ about. 

122 Keratins are hair proteins. California Department of Public Health, Occupational Health Branch, California Safe 
Cosmetics Program, Q&A: Brazilian Blowout & Other Hair Smoothing Salon Treatments, http://www.cdph.ca.gov/ 
programs/co smetic s/Documents/BrazilianB lo woutQA. pdf. 

123 See the Appendix for a more detailed discussion of keratin hair treatment products containing formaldehyde. 


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regarding the use of coal tar hair dyes as color additives 124 and nanomaterial ingredients, which 
are discussed more below. 


Color Additives 

As previously discussed, FDA does not require premarket approval of cosmetic ingredients, 
except for color additives. FDA regulates color additives—such as FD&C Blue No. 1— 
differently than other cosmetic ingredients and differently for use in cosmetics than for use in 
food, dmgs, or medical devices. Color additives include any dye, pigment, or substance that may 
impart a color when added to a food, dmg, cosmetic, or the human body, 129 and must be listed in a 
regulation before they are allowed to be used. 126 A cosmetic that contains a color additive that 
does not comply with the applicable FDA regulation will cause the cosmetic product to be 
considered to be adulterated. 127 

Additionally, some color additives must be certified by FDA before they may be used. 128 Failure 
to certify a color additive may cause the entire cosmetic product in which it is used to be deemed 
to be adulterated. 129 Batches of color additives are either subject to, or exempt from, certification 
by FDA. 191 The color additives that are subject to certification “are derived primarily from 
petroleum,” while color additives exempt from certification “are obtained primarily from mineral, 
plant, or animal sources.” 131 Regardless of whether a color additive is subject to certification, all 


124 E.g., The Food and Drug Administration s Regulation of Cosmetics: Hearing Before the Subcomm. on Oversight 
and Investigations of the House Comm, on Interstate and Foreign Commerce (February 3, 1978) at 4 (statement of 
Gregory J. Ahart, Director, Human Resources Division, GAO) [hereinafter Ahart Statement]; The Review of the 
Adequacy of Existing Laws Designed to Protect the Public from Exposure to Cancer Causing and Other Toxic 
Chemicals in Hair Dyes and Cosmetic Products’. Hearings Before the Subcomm. on Oversight and Investigations of the 
House Comm, on Interstate and Foreign Commerce , Serial No. 95-91, 95 th Cong. (January 23 and 26, February 2-3, 
1978) at 370 (statement of Hon. Donald Kennedy, FDA Commissioner); Safety of Hair Dyes and Cosmetic Products: 
Hearing Before the Subcomm. on Oversight and Investigations of the H. Comm, on Interstate and Foreign Commerce , 
Serial No. 96-105 (July 19,1979) at 6 (statement of Sherwin Gardner, Acting Commissioner, FDA) [hereinafter 
Gardner Statement]. 

125 21 C.F.R. §70.3(f); see also FFDCA §201(t)(“(l) The term “color additive” means a material which—(A) is a dye, 
pigment, or other substance made by a process of synthesis or similar artifice, or extracted, isolated, or otherwise 
derived, with or without intermediate or final change of identity, from a vegetable, animal, mineral, or other source, and 
(B) when added or applied to a food, drug, or cosmetic, or to the human body or any part thereof, is capable (alone or 
through reaction with other substance) of imparting color thereto; except that such term does not include any material 
which the Secretary, by regulation, determines is used (or intended to be used) solely for a purpose or purposes other 
than coloring. (2) The term “color” includes black, white, and intermediate grays.”). 

126 21 U.S.C. §379e(a); FFDCA §721(a). 

127 21 U.S.C. §379e(a); FFDCA §721(a); 21 U.S.C. §361(e); FFDCA §601(e). 

128 “In the certification procedure, a representative sample of a new batch of color additive, accompanied by a ‘request 
for certification , that provides information about the batch, must be submitted to FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and 
Colors. FDA personnel perform chemical and other analyses of the representative sample and, providing the sample 
satisfies all certification requirements, issue a certification lot number for the batch.” 76 Fed. Reg. 10371,10372 
(February 24,2011); 21 C.F.R. Part 80. 

129 21 U.S.C. §379e(a); FFDCA §721(a); 21 C.F.R. §71.25. 

130 21 U.S.C. §379e(c); FFDCA §721(c); 21 C.F.R. Part 73, Subpart C, Listing of Color Additives Exempt from 
Certification; 21 C.F.R. Part 74, Subpart C, Listing of Color Additives Subject to Certification; see also FDA, Color 
Additives Permitted for Use in Cosmetics: Table, http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ 

GuidanceComplianceRegulatorylnformation/V oluntaryCo smetic sRegistrationProgramVCRP/OnlineRegistration/ 
ucml09084.htm. 

131 Ibid. 


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color additives must be approved as “safe-for-use” prior to being listed and therefore able to be 
used in cosmetics. 132 

hi addition to being subject to certification by FDA, color additives must be used according to 
FDA regulations that prescribe “the conditions under which such additive may be safely used.” 133 
For example, the color additive FD&C Red No. 4 must meet the requirements of 21 C.F.R. 

§74.1304(a)(1) and (b), which discuss identity (the composition and specifications the color 
additive must meet, such as the maximum amounts of particular impurities that the color additive 
can contain) and restrict its use to “externally applied dmgs and cosmetics.” 134 Under FDA 
regulations, the external application of cosmetics does not include “the lips or any body surface 
covered by mucous membrane,” and therefore FDA regulations prohibit the use of certain colors 
in cosmetics such as lipsticks. 135 As additional examples, FDA has specific regulations for an 
approved glow-in-the-dark color additive and for fluorescent color additives (some of which are 
approved for use in cosmetics) and for liquid crystal color additives (which are unapproved color 
additives and, therefore, are not approved for use in cosmetics). 136 FDA regulations also contain 
restrictions on color additives for use in the eye area, in injections (such as for tattoos or 
permanent makeup), and in surgical sutures, including that the listing or certification of the color 
additive must allow that specific use. 137 

Coal Tar Hair Dyes 

Coal tar dyes have been a particularly controversial group of color additives, due to their potential 
health risk. Coal tar dyes are “synthetic-organic” colors, most of which are “made from 
petroleum ” 138 These dyes, “which deposit and adhere to the hair shaft,” “are either listed and 
certified color additives or dyes for which approval has not been sought.” 139 They were 
specifically exempted from the FFDCA adulteration and other color additive provisions for 
products that are intended to dye hair. 14() 

FDA, GAO, policymakers, and consumer groups have questioned whether the FFDCA exemption 
for coal tar hair dyes should be repealed because of potential health hazards. 141 On several 


132 The FDA’s “safe-for-use” principle “require[s] the presentation of all needed scientific data in support of a proposed 
listing to assure that each listed color additive will be safe for its intended use in or on... cosmetics.” 21 C.F.R. §70.42. 
In this context, “safe” means “that there is convincing evidence that establishes with reasonable certainty that no harm 
will result from the intended use of the color additive.” 21 C.F.R. §70.3(i). 

133 21 U.S.C. §379e(a); FFDCA §721(a). 

134 21 C.F.R. §82.304. 

135 21 C.F.R. §70.3(v); FDA, Color Additives and Cosmetics, http://www.fda.gov/ForIndustry/ColorAdditives/ 
ColorAdditivesinSpecificProducts/InCo smetics/ucm110032.htm 

136 E.g., 21 C.F.R. §73.2995—Luminescent zinc sulfide; FDA, Color Additives and Cosmetics, supra note 121. 

137 21 C.F.R. §70.5. The FDA notes that it has not approved any color additive for skin injections such as tattoos or 
permanent makeup. FDA, Color Additives and Cosmetics, supra note 121. Additionally, color additives may be 
required to be labeled as “Do not use for coloring drugs for injection.” 21 C.F.R. §70.25. 

138 FDA, Color Additives and Cosmetics, supra note 135. The FDA also states that coal tar colors are “materials 
consisting of one or more substances that either are made from coal-tar or can be derived from intermediates of the 
same identity as coal-tar intermediates,” and “may also include diluents or substrata.” 

139 FDA, Hair Dye Products, http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductandIngredientSafety/ProductInformation/ 
ucml43066.htm. 

140 21 U.S.C. §361; FFDCA §601; Hutt, supra note 32, p. 7. 

141 See, e.g.. The Food and Drug Administration’s Regulation of Cosmetics: Hearing Before the Subcomm. on 
(continued...) 


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occasions, the FDA unsuccessfully has argued for the repeal of the coal tar hair dye exemption. 142 
The GAO also “recommended that FDA evaluate safety data on coal tar hair dye ingredients and 
require, where applicable, a cancer or other appropriate warning statement on product labels.” 143 
FDA has stated that “several coal-tar hair dye ingredients have been found to cause cancer in 
laboratory animals.” 144 FDA unsuccessfully attempted to require the following warning on hair 
dyes that contained the coal tar ingredient 4-methoxy-m-phenylenediamine (4-MMPD, 2, 4- 
diaminoanisole): ‘Warning—Contains an ingredient that can penetrate your skin and has been 
determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals.” 145 

Coal tar dyes are explicitly excluded from use in products intended to be dyes for eyelashes or 
eyebrows. 145 To avoid an adulteration determination, coal tar hair dyes must contain the FFDCA- 
mandated warning statement that informs consumers of the potential risks associated with their 
use: “Caution -This product contains ingredients which may cause skin irritation on certain 
individuals and a preliminary test according to accompanying directions should first be made. 
This product must not be used for dyeing the eyelashes or the eyebrows; to do so may cause 
blindness.” 147 


Nanomaterial Ingredients 

The inclusion of nanomaterial ingredients in cosmetics has generated debate over the safety of 
nanomaterials and how and whether FDA should regulate such ingredients. Nanotechnology 
involves the application and manipulation of small matter “at the nanoscale, which is about 1 to 


(...continued) 

Oversight and Investigations of the House Comm, on Interstate and Foreign Commerce (February 3, 1978) at 4 
(statement of Gregory J. Ahart, Director, Human Resources Division, GAO) [hereinafter Ahart Statement]; The Review 
of the Adequacy of Existing Laws Designed to Protect the Public from Exposure to Cancer Causing and Other Toxic 
Chemicals in Hair Dyes and Cosmetic Products: Hearings Before the Subcomm. on Oversight and Investigations of the 
House Comm, on Interstate and Foreign Commerce , Serial No. 95-91, 95 th Cong. (January 23 and 26, February 2-3, 
1978) at 370 (statement of Hon. Donald Kennedy, FDA Commissioner); Safety of Hair Dyes and Cosmetic Products: 
Hearing Before the Subcomm. on Oversight and Investigations of the H. Comm, on Interstate and Foreign Commerce , 
Serial No. 96-105 (July 19,1979) at 6 (statement of Sherwin Gardner, Acting Commissioner, FDA) [hereinafter 
Gardner Statement]. 

142 See, e.g.. The Review of the Adequacy of Existing Laws Designed to Protect the Public from Exposure to Cancer 
Causing and Other Toxic Chemicals in Hair Dyes and Cosmetic Products : Hearings Before the Subcomm. on 
Oversight and Investigations of the House Comm, on Interstate and Foreign Commerce , 95 th Cong., Serial No. 95-91 
(January 23 and 26, February 2-3,1978) at 370 (statement of Hon. Donald Kennedy, FDA Commissioner )(“But our 
ability to protected the public, particularly from the risk associated with long-term use of hair dyes, will continue to be 
severely limited until Congress repeals the exemptions for coal tar hair dye products. We have long stated that the coal 
tar exemptions of section 601(a) and (e) and 602(e) should be repealed.”); Ahart Statement, supra note 124, at 4; 
Gardner Statement, supra note 129, at 6 (“The law does contain an exemption for coal tar hair dyes from the principal 
adulteration provisions of the act. ... We have long urged that this outmoded exemption be eliminated, and the 
Department will shortly submit legislation that will accomplish this purpose.”). 

143 Ahart Statement, supra note 141, p. 4. 

144 FDA, Hair Dye Products, supra note 139. 

145 21 C.F.R. §740.18; see 47 Fed. Reg. 7829 (February 23,1982), which stayed this regulation until further notice, 
effective September 18,1980; FDA, Hair Dye Products, supra note 124. 

146 21 U.S.C. §361; FFDCA §601; 21 C.F.R. §70.3(u). 

147 21 U.S.C. §361 (a); FFDCA §601(a). In addition to the warning label, coal tar hair dyes must have “adequate 
directions for preliminary patch testing” to meet the exemption from the FFDCA §601(a) adulteration provisions. 21 
C.F.R. §70.3(u). 


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100 nanometers.” 148 The cosmetic industry has used nanotechnology in cosmetic products for 
more than two decades. 149 Cosmetics are reportedly “the most prominent nanotechnology 
products on the U.S. market,” 150 and the “global market for cosmetics using nanotechnology 
[was] projected to reach an estimated $155.8 [million] in 2010.” 151 Nanomaterials are reportedly 
used in two main ways in cosmetic products—as UV filters and as delivery systems. 152 The 
Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies—created in 2005 as a partnership between the Pew 
Charitable Trusts and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars—maintains a 
searchable database of consumer products, including cosmetics, that reportedly contain 
nanomaterials. 153 Cosmetic products with nanomaterials include facial cosmetic products, from 
creams and moisturizers to bronzers and blushers to mascara. 154 

There is debate among the scientific community as to the potential health effects of these 
particles. In general, the concerns about the use of nanomaterials in FDA-regulated products 
surround whether the small size of these particles leads to any new toxicological properties or 
harmful health effects, such as potentially damaging the skin or “crossing into the bloodstream, 
cells, and organs.” 155 The unique size and chemical properties of these materials has led to 
concerns that they may have an increased ability to permeate the human skin and may release 
toxins into the bloodstream. 1 " 5 Damaged skin may be “especially at risk for nanoparticle 
penetration.” 157 Other issues may include access to the body by inhalation, ingestion, or skin 
penetration; the length of time that they remain in the body; the dose likely to cause harm; the 
effects of long-term exposure; and the impact on the environment. 158 Consumer groups such as 
Friends of the Earth, the International Center for Technology Assessment, and Consumers Union 
have raised concerns about nanomaterials in cosmetic products and have petitioned FDA 
regarding the regulation of products containing nanomaterials. 159 


148 National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), What is Nanotechnology?, http://www.nano.gov/nanotech-101/what/ 
definition. According to the NNI, “There are 25,400,000 nanometers in one inch.” NNI, Size of the Nanoscale, 
http: //www.nano .gov/nanotech-101 /what/nano-size. 

149 Nanotechnology has been used in clear sunscreens and “deep-penetrating therapeutic cosmetics” since 1999 to the 
early 2000s. NNI, Nanotechnology Timeline, http://www.nano.gov/nanotech-101/timeline. 

150 Johnson, supra note 48, p. 88. 

151 Lori McGroder, Shook, Hardy & Bacon, Nanotechnology - Keeping Cosmetics Out of the Courtroom, April 7, 

2011 , http: //www. co smetic sbusiness.com/technical/article_page/ 

Nanotechnology_keeping_cosmetics_out_of_the_courtroom/60306. 

152 ObservatoryNANO, General Section Reports, Nanotechnology in Cosmetics, at 6.2, 
http://www.observatorynano.eu/project/filesystem/files/Cosmetics%20report-April%2009.pdf. 

153 The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, About Us, Mission, http://www.nanotechproject.org/about/mission/. 
See http://www.nanotechproject.org/inventories/consumer/ for the searchable database of consumer products reportedly 
containing nanomaterials. 

154 The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, Health and Fitness, Cosmetics, http://www.nanotechproject.org/ 
inventories/consumer/bro wse/categories/health_fitness/co smetic s/. 

155 Abramowitz, supra note 61, p. 203-04. 

156 Albert C. Lin, Size Matters: Regulating Nanotechnology, 31 Harv. Envtl. L. Rev. 349, 359,2007. 

157 Abramowitz, supra note 61, p. 207. 

158 Ibid, at 203,207. 

159 E.g., Friends of the Earth, Nanomaterials, Sunscreens and Cosmetics: Small Ingredients, Big Risks (May 2006). The 
industry responded to this report in a white paper. Johann Wiechers, Nanotechnology and Skin Delivery: Infinitely 
Small or Infinite Possibilities? 124 Cosmetics & Toiletries Magazine, January 2009, 

http://www.CosmeticsandToiletries.com; see also International Center for Technology Assessment, Citizens Petition to 
the United States Food and Drug Administration Requesting FDA Amend its Regulations for Products Composed of 
Engineered Nanoparticles Generally and Sunscreen Drug Products Composed of Engineered Nanoparticles (May 16, 
(continued...) 


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Nanotechnology Task Force 

Iii 2006, then-acting FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach created an internal FDA 
Nanotechnology Task Force to “determine] regulatory approaches that encourage the continued 
development of innovative, safe and effective FDA-regulated products that use nanotechnology 
materials.” 160 Neither FDA nor the task force adopted a definition of‘nanotechnology.” 161 The 
agency has stated that it “believes that the existing battery of pharmacotoxicity tests is probably 
adequate for most nanotechnology products that [it] will regulate.” 162 In 2007, FDA declined to 
adopt labeling requirements for products containing nanomaterials, stating that: 

[b]ecause the current science does not support a finding that classes of products with 
nanoscale materials necessarily present greater safety concerns than classes of products 
without nanoscale materials, the [FDA] does not believe there is a basis for saying that, as a 
general matter, a product containing nanoscale materials must be labeled as such. Therefore, 

[FDA] is not recommending that the agency require such labeling at this time. Instead. 

[FDA] recommends ... the following action: Address on a case-by-case basis whether 
labeling must or may contain information on the use of nanoscale materials. 163 

Therefore, FDA has not promulgated specific regulations requiring products that contain 
nanomaterials to be labeled accordingly. The Nanotechnology Task Force indicated that 
regulatory decisionmaking “depends in part on having staff with expertise” in the appropriate 
areas and recommended that FDA build in-house expertise. 164 Also in 2007, the Nanotechnology 
Task Force recommended the agency coordinate with other federal agencies, the private sector, 
and other countries on research and other activities “to increase scientific understanding and 
facilitate assessment of data needs for regulated products” and undertake actions such as the 
development of guidance documents. 166 

Draft Guidance Regarding the Use of Nanomaterials in 
FDA-Regulated Products 

On June 14, 2011, FDA issued draft guidance with recommendations for industry on 
“Considering Whether an FDA-Regulated Product Involves the Application of Nanotechnology,” 


(...continued) 

2006), http://www.icta.org/global/actions.cfm?page=15&type+364&topic_8 (petition regarding regulation of products 
with unlabeled nanomaterials and their health and environmental risks); Letter to Andrew C. von Eschenbach, FDA 
Commissioner, from Consumers Union, October 8,2008, http://www.consumersuiion.org/pub/core_product_safety/ 
006254.html (requesting a safety assessment of the use of engineered nanoparticles, particularly in cosmetics, 
sunscreens, and sunblocks). 

160 Press Release, FDA, FDA Forms Internal Nanotechnology Task Force, August 9,2006, http://www.fda.gov/ 
NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2006/ucml08707.htm. 

161 FDA, Considering Whether an FDA-Regulated Product Involves the Application of Nanotechnology, Draft 
Guidance for Industry, at n.4 (June 14,2011), 76 Federal Register 34715, http://www.fda.gov/regulatoryinformation/ 
guidances/ucm257698.htm [hereinafter Draft Guidance]. 

162 FDA, FDA Regulation of Nanotechnology Products, http://www.fda.gov/ScienceResearch/SpecialTopics/ 
Nanotechnology/Nanotechnology TaskForce/ucml 15441 .htm. 

163 FDA, Nanotechnology Task Force, Nanotechnology: A Report of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, July 25, 
2007, http://www.fda.gov/downloads/ScienceResearch/SpecialTopics/Nanotechnology/ucml 10856.pdf. 

164 Ibid, at 14,16. 

165 Ibid, at 15-16, 30, 32. 


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including the implications of using nanomaterials on the regulatory status of a product or the 
product’s “safety, effectiveness, or public health impact.” 166 The draft guidance is intended to 
assist industry and others to identify potential consideration for “regulatory status, safety, 
effectiveness, or public health impact” that may arise with the application of nanotechnology in 
all FDA-regulated products, including cosmetics. 157 The agency states that it “does not 
categorically judge all products containing nanomaterials or otherwise involving the application 
of nanotechnology as intrinsically benign or harmful.” 168 However, FDA also notes that 
“evaluations of safety, effectiveness or public health impact of such products should consider the 
unique properties and behaviors that nanomaterials exhibit.” 169 

On April 25, 2012, FDA issued draft guidance on the “Safety of Nanomaterials in Cosmetic 
Products.” 17 ’ This draft guidance provides a general framework for (1) assessing the safety of 
cosmetic products; (2) points to consider in assessing the safety of nanomaterials in cosmetic 
products, including a schema for characterizing the properties of nanomaterials and 
considerations for toxicology testing; and (3) a summary of FDA's recommendations. It notes that 
the use of nanomaterials “may alter the bioavailability of the cosmetic formulation,” and that 
“traditional safety tests... may not be fully applicable.” 171 FDA concludes that the inclusion of 
nanomaterials in an FDA-regulated product may affect the quality, safety, effectiveness, and/or 
public health impact of a product, and encourages manufacturers to meet with the FDA to discuss 
the “test methods and data needed to substantiate the product’s safety, including short-term 
toxicity and long-term toxicity data as appropriate.” 172 


Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program 

As noted above, FDA does not currently have the authority to mandate registration of cosmetic 
facilities, in contrast with the statutory registration requirements for establishments that produce 
other products regulated by the agency. However, since 1974, FDA, in cooperation with the 
cosmetic industry, has had a Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program (VCRP) to facilitate 
registration of cosmetic establishments. 17 ' GAO has noted that “[registration is important 


166 FDA, Draft Guidance, supra note 162, also available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-201 l-06-14/pdf/2011- 
14643.pdf. The draft guidance was issued the same day as a White House memorandum to executive branch 
departments and agencies on policy principles regarding U.S. regulation and oversight of nanotechnology and 
nanomaterials. Memorandum from John P. Holdren, Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy, et al., to the 
Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies, Policy Principles for the U.S. Decision-Making Concerning Regulation 
and Oversight of Applications of Nanotechno logy and Nanomaterials, June 9,2011. 

167 FDA, Draft Guidance, supra note 162. 

168 Ibid. 

169 Ibid 

170 FDA, Draft Guidance for Industry: Safety of Nanomaterials in Cosmetic Products; Availability, 77 Federal Register 
24722, April 25,2012, http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/ 
GuidanceDocuments/ucm300886.htm. 

171 Ibid. 

172 Ibid 

173 21 C.F.R. Part 710—Voluntary Registration of Cosmetic Product Establishments. In May 2008, an estimated one- 
third of cosmetic establishments were registered. Discussion Draft of the Food and Drug Administration Globalization 
Act’Legislation: Device and Cosmetic Safety , Hearing Before the Subcomm. on Health, H. Comm, on Energy and 
Commerce , 110 th Cong., May 14,2008 (statement of Stephen Sundlof, FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied 
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because it serves as the basis for determining where FDA will conduct its inspections.” 174 FDA 
has also stated that VCRP information helps the Cosmetic Ingredient Review program (discussed 
previously) “in determining its priorities for ingredient safety review.” 175 

Under VCRP, FDA encourages cosmetic establishments that manufacture or package cosmetic 
products to voluntarily register their facilities within 30 days of the start of their operations, 
regardless of whether their products enter interstate commerce. 176 FDA regulations request that 
foreign cosmetic product manufacturers voluntarily register with the agency if their products are 
exported for sale in the United States. 177 Cosmetic manufacturers and packagers also are 
encouraged to report the ingredients used in their product formulations. 178 FDA does not assess a 
fee for the voluntary registration of a cosmetic product establishment. 179 

Certain classes of establishments are exempt from FDA's voluntary registration request “because 
the [FDA] Commissioner has found that such registration is not justified.” 180 These include 
beauty shops; cosmetologists; retailers; pharmacies; physicians; hospitals; clinics; public health 
agencies; persons who compound cosmetics at a location but do not otherwise manufacture or 
package cosmetics from that location; and persons who manufacture, prepare, compound, or 
process cosmetic products for activities such as teaching or research, but not for sale. 181 

Consumer safety organizations such as the Environmental Working Group have submitted 
comments to the FDA supporting the inclusion of “for professional use only” products in the 
voluntary registration scheme, particularly in light of issues with “Brazilian Blowout” products 
(see section ‘““For Professional Use Only” Labeling” and the Appendix ). 182 In its response to the 
comments, FDA disagreed with the inclusion of professional use products in the VCRP, as the 
VCRP does not apply to products not in commercial distribution. 18 ' 


174 GAO, Cosmetics Regulation: Information on Voluntary Actions Agreed to by FDA and the Industry, Report to the 
Chairman, Subcommittee on Regulation, Business Opportunities, and Energy, House Committee on Small Business, 
GAO/HRD-90-58, at 3 (March 1990). The GAO report also commented on a “major disagreement” between FDA and 
the cosmetic industry’s trade group as to the number of companies that were not registered with FDA and stated that 
FDA’s inability to require registration inhibited the agency’s ability to “accurately assess how many companies may be 
avoiding registration.” Ibid. pp. 3-4. 

175 FDA, Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program (VCRP), http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ 
GuidanceComplianceRegulatorylnfomiation/VoluntaryCosmeticsRegistrationProgramVCRP/default.htm. 

176 21 C.F.R. §§710.1,710.2. 

177 21 C.F.R. §710.1. 

178 21 C.F.R. §720.4. 

179 21 C.F.R. §710.1. 

180 21 C.F.R. §710.9. 

181 21 C.F.R. §710.9. 

182 “FDA disagrees with the suggested change to its registration program. Cosmetic products marketed in the United 
States are regulated by FDA in accordance with the requirements of the [FFDCA] and, if offered for sale as consumer 
commodities, the [FPLA]. The FPLA defines a consumer commodity as a product distributed through retail sales for 
consumption by individuals. Professional products used in salons, and free samples are not available through retail sale 
to consumers, so they are not considered to be in ‘commercial distribution.’ Because the VCRP program only applies to 
cosmetic products in commercial distribution as defined in the FPLA, FDA is unable to file professional cosmetic 
products.” Letter from Thomas Cluderay, Staff Attorney and Stabile Fellow, Environmental Working Group, EWG 
Comments on FDA’s Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program, Docket No. FDA-2010-N-0623 (February 11,2011); 
see also Alaina Busch, Mandatory Cosmetics Adverse Events Reporting Urged , FDA Week, April 15,2011. 

183 FDA, Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for Office of Management and Budget Review, 
Comment Request; Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program, 76 Fed. Reg. 10607,10608 (February 25,2011). 


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FDA also disagreed with the suggested audit of the cosmetics industry, which the consumer group 
proposed in order “to determine the current participation rate” in the VCRP and “to estimate how 
many ingredients and products FDA receives into the database compared to the total 
produced.” 184 The agency focused on its lack of “statutory authority to make registration in the 
VCRP mandatory,” as well as “the cost of completing such a project,” calling the audit “not a 
wise use of Agency funds in the current economic environment.” 185 Finally, FDA disagreed “at 
this time” with the Environmental Working Group's suggestion to create a certification program 
so that cosmetic companies could “indicate to consumers that they have participated in the 
VCRP,” stating that the agency would need to research “how consumers would interpret such a 
certification claim,” as well as how to enforce registration claims. 186 


Reporting of Adverse Reactions to Cosmetics 

FDA lacks the statutory authority to require cosmetic manufacturers to notify FDA of adverse 
events associated with their products and to require cosmetic companies to report information 
they receive from consumers and others regarding adverse events. Currently, the agency advises 
consumers to self-report “negative reactions] to a beauty, personal hygiene, [and] makeup 
products” to the FDA via the agency’s safety information and adverse event reporting program— 
MedWatch —or the consumer's local FDA complaint coordinator. The agency is interested in 
hearing from consumers who “experience a rash, hair loss, infection, or other problem—even if 
they didn't follow product directions,” as well as when products have bad smells or unusual 
colors and may be contaminated. 189 The agency may use adverse event reports by consumers to 
detect repeated problems with a product and potentially to take enforcement or other legal 
action. 190 

For example, adverse events that have been reported to FDA include reactions to henna/mehndi, 
certain shades of ink used for tattoos and permanent makeup, and keratin hair treatment 
products. 191 Temporary tattoos have been associated with reports of allergic reactions. 192 These 
products also have been subject to an import alert due to the lack of a required ingredient 
declaration on the label or the presence of colors not approved for use in cosmetics for the skin. 193 


184 Ibid.; see also Alaina Busch, FDA Rejects Cosmetics Certification Program Recommendation , FDA Week, March 3, 
2011 . 

185 76 Fed. Reg. at 10608. 

186 Ibid. 

187 FDA, MedWatch: The FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program, http://www.fda.gov/Safety/ 
MedWatch/default. htm. 

188 FDA, Bad Reaction to Cosmetics? Tell FDA, http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ 
ucm241820.htm. 

189 Ibid Data to be reported to the FDA include “the name and contact information for the person who had the reaction; 
the age, gender, and ethnicity of the product’s user; the name of the product and manufacturer; a description of the 
reaction—and treatment, if any; the healthcare provider’s name and contact information, if medical attention was 
provided; and when and where the product was purchased.” 

190 Ibid. 

191 FDA, Tattoos & Permanent Makeup, http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductandIngredientSafety/ 
Productlnformation/ucml 08530. htm. 

192 FDA, Temporary Tattoos & Henna/Mehndi, http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductandIngredientSafety/ 
Productlnformation/ucml 08569. htm. 

193 Ibid. 


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Certain ink shades used for permanent makeup resulted in “more than 150 reports of adverse 

• • ,,194 

reactions m consumers. 

FDA has also received at least 33 adverse event reports, an additional seven reports of hair loss, 
and a number of inquiries concerning the safety of “Brazilian Blowouts” and similar “For 
Professional Use Only” hair treatment products, which may contain or release formaldehyde in 
the air when used by stylists to smooth hair, despite being labeled as “formaldehyde-free.” 19 " The 
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which regulates workers’ exposure to 
formaldehyde and workplace safety, and state agencies that regulate hair salons have issued 
hazard alerts about these products. 196 This issue is discussed further in the Appendix. 

hi the absence of FDA requirements regarding adverse event reporting, the cosmetic industry has 
made efforts to self-regulate. In 2007, the industry trade association, the Personal Care Products 
Council (PCPC), created a Consumer Commitment Code that cosmetic product and ingredient 
manufacturers and marketers were “encouraged to acknowledge their support of’ in writing. 197 
One of the Code's principles is that “a company should notify the [FDA] of any known serious 
and unexpected adverse event as a result of the use of any of its cosmetic products marketed and 
used in the United States,” where the terms “serious” and “unexpected” mean the same as FDA 
regulations defining serious and unexpected adverse events for drugs. 198 This Code is not a 
binding legal standard and cannot be enforced by FDA. The PCPC has stated that it “will not 
terminate the Council’s membership for noncompliance,” but would instead encourage 
compliance with the Code. 199 


Other Concerns with Labeling 

Consumers may seek out particular cosmetics based on their labeling, such as cosmetics made 
with organic ingredients or without being tested on animals. However, FDA does not define 
certain terms used by manufacturers on their cosmetic products. Sections below on “organic” and 
“not tested on animals” claims address slight differences in how cosmetic products are marketed 


194 FDA, Tattoos & Permanent Makeup, supra note 191. 

195 The reports date from September 29,2008 to March 1,2011. CIR, Final Amended Report: Formaldehyde and 
Methylene Glycol, 11 (October 12,2011), http://www.cir-safety.org/stafF_files/Formall0122011final.pdf; FDA 
Receives Complaints Associated With the Use of Brazilian Blowout, May 24,2011, http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ 
ProductandIngredientSafety/ProductInformation/ucm228898.htm. 

196 Press Release, U.S. Department of Labor, US Labor Department’s OSHA Issues Hazard Alert to Hair Salon 
Owners, Workers, April 11,2011, http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table= 
NFWS_RELEASES&p_id=19584; Press Release, Illinois Dep’t of Financial and Professional Regulation, Hair 
Smoothing Products Might Cause Health Risk, June 3,2011, http://www.idfpr.com/NEWSRLS/2011/ 

06032011HairSmoothingAlert. asp. 

197 Cosmeticsinfo.org, Consumer Commitment Code, http://www.cosmeticsinfo.Org/fdapartner_ccc2.php#2. This 
website is sponsored by PCPC and its members. Cosmeticsinfo.org, About This Website and Its Sponsors, 

http: //www. co smeticsinfo. org/aboutus. php. 

198 Under 21 C.F.R. §314.80(a), “serious adverse drug experiences” include “death, a life-threatening adverse drug 
experience, inpatient hospitalization ... a persistent or significant disability/incapacity, or a congenital anomaly/birth 
defect,” as well as important medical events that “may require medical or surgical intervention to prevent one of the 
outcomes listed in this definition.” An “unexpected adverse drug experience” is “[a]ny adverse drug experience that is 
not listed in the current labeling for the drug product,” or an “adverse drug experience that has not been previously 
observed.” 

199 Cosmeticsinfo.org, Consumer Commitment Code, http://www.cosmeticsinfo.org/fdapartner_ccc3.php. 


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using certain claims and what consumers may believe such claims to mean. Additionally, not all 
cosmetic products are required to be labeled in the same manner, as the section below on products 
used by professionals discusses. 


"Organic" Labeling Claims on Cosmetic Products 

As with many statements made on cosmetic products, the terms “natural” and “organic” have no 
specific definition in the FFDCA, which may lead to consumer confusion. 200 While FDA has 
authority for labeling of cosmetics, the agency does not regulate the use of the term “organic”— 
rather, USDA regulates “organic” claims on cosmetic products. 201 Generally speaking, some 
cosmetics may be labeled as “natural” and “marketfed] ... as containing plant or mineral 
ingredients,” while other cosmetic labels may include the claims that they are “organic” or made 
from “agricultural ingredients grown without pesticides.” 212 Consumers seeking “natural” or 
“organic” cosmetics may have different expectations about the materials in a product marketed as 
natural or organic. 

Consumers may perceive that products that are labeled as “natural” or “organic” have a health 
benefit 203 However, FDA has noted that “many plants, regardless of whether they are organically 
grown, contain substances that may be toxic or allergenic.” 204 Additionally, FDA has stated that 
“[consumers should not necessarily assume that an ‘organic' or ‘natural 5 ingredient or product 
would possess greater inherent safety than another chemically identical version of the same 
ingredient.” 205 Some natural ingredients may cause consumers to have adverse reactions, and 
FDA has stated that “[i]n fact, ‘natural 5 ingredients may be harder to preserve against microbial 
contamination and growth than synthetic raw materials.” 206 

hi 2005, the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP), which oversees voluntary organic 
labeling of certified foods, determined that cosmetic products that meet the requirements 
established under the NOP regulations are eligible for certification as ww organic.” A cosmetic 
product “may be eligible to be certified under the NOP regulations” if the product “contains or is 


200 FDA, “Organic” Cosmetics, http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductandIngredientSafety/ProductInformation/ 
ucm203078.htm. 

201 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Marketing Service, National Organic Program 
(NOP), Cosmetics, Body Care Products, and Personal Care Products, http://www.ams.usda.gOv/AMSvl.0/getfile? 
dDocName=STELPRDC5068442. 

202 Natasha Singer, Natural, Organic Beauty , N. Y. Times, p. G1, November 1,2007. The lack of an FDA definition for 
these and similar terms may allow a cosmetic manufacturer to make such claims on “a synthetic-based shampoo with 
one plant derivative” as well as “a synthetic-free face powder formulated with only minerals.” 

203 FDA, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Office of Cosmetics and Colors, How Smart Are You About 
Cosmetics? Question 6a, http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/videos/CFSAN/costf/costf-6.html; Singer, supra note 207 
(noting that “representatives for the government and the beauty industry, as well as some environmental activists, 
acknowledge that there is no published scientific proof to support the notion that plant-based cosmetics are safer, 
healthier or more effective for people”). 

204 FDA, “Organic” Cosmetics, http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductandIngredientSafety/ProductInformation/ 
ucm203078.htm. The FDA also maintains a database of poisonous plants. FDA, FDA Poisonous Plant Database, 
http: //www. accessdata. fda. gov/ scripts/plantox/index. cfm. 

205 Singer, supra note 202 (quoting Dr. Linda M. Katz, Director of the FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and Colors). 

206 Ibid, (quoting Dr. Linda M. Katz, Director of the FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and Colors). 

207 7 C.F.R. Part 205. 

208 7 C.F.R. §205.2; USDA, supra note 201. 


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made up of agricultural ingredients, and can meet the USDA/NOP organic production, handling, 
processing and labeling standards.” 209 The USDAhas stated that the “organic” label is not meant 
to be an indicator of safety: “The National Organic Program is a marketing program, not a safety 
program.” 210 

The NOP regulations provide four organic labeling categories: (1) 100% Organic—excluding 
water and salt, the product must be made of only organically produced ingredients and may use 
the USDA organic seal; (2) Organic—excluding water and salt, the product must be comprised of 
at least 95% organically produced ingredients and may use the USDA organic seal; (3) Made with 
Organic Ingredients—excluding water and salt, the product must contain at least 70% organic 
ingredients and the label may list three of the organic ingredients or food groups, such as herbs, 
but the product may not use the USDA organic seal; and (4) specific ingredients may be identified 
as organic if they are USDA-certified organic, but these products may not use the USDA organic 
seal or the term “organic.” 211 

hi 2009, the Certification, Accreditation, and Compliance Committee of the USDA’s 15-member 
National Organics Standards Board made recommendations regarding “the problem of mislabeled 
organic personal care products.” 212 The committee stated that the “USDA is responsible for 
product organic claims but is not currently enforcing this in the area of personal care products.” 213 
For example, some shampoos and conditioners state that they “use ingredients that are 100% 
Organic or are directly traceable to a natural source,” but do not indicate who performs the 
organic certification or display the USDA Organic Seal. 214 As a result, the committee noted that 
“[consumers are not assured that organic claims are consistently reviewed and applied” to 
personal care products. 21 " The committee recommended amending the NOP regulations to include 
a definition of “personal care products” that is based on the definition of a “cosmetic” under the 
FFDCA, to clarify the use of the term “organic” in its application to personal care products, and 
to restrict the use of the USDA Organic Seal. 216 However, the recommendations of the committee 
have not yet been adopted by the National Organic Standards Board and “are not official USDA 
policy” at this time. 217 

hi addition to the USDA’s NOP, other entities have created their own standards programs for what 
constitutes “organic” in personal care products. For example, with input from industry 
stakeholders, the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) International 218 and the American 


209 USDA, supra note 203. 

210 Singer, supra note 202. 

211 7 C.F.R. §§205.303-05; USDA, supra note 203. 

212 USDA, NOP, National Organic Standards Board, Certification, Accreditation, and Compliance Committee, 
Recommendation: Solving the Problem of Mislabeled Organic Personal Care Products, August 30,2009, 
http: //www. ams. usda. go v/AMS v 1.0/getfile?dDocName= STELPRDC5079488. 

213 Ibid. 

214 Renpure Organics, Frequently Asked Questions, http://www.renpure.com/organic-product-questions.htail. 

215 USDA, NOP, supra note 212. 

216 Ibid. 

217 USDA, NOP, National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), http://www.ams.usda.gOv/AMSvl.0/ 
ams. fetchT emplateData. do?template=TemplateQ&navID=NationalOrganicProgram&leftNav= 
NationalOrganicProgram&page=NOSBHome&description=NOSB&acct=nosb. 

218 NSF International is a non-governmental, “not-for-profit, standards development and testing/certification 
organization” that provides education in the field of public health and safety and serves manufacturers operating in 80 
countries. See NSF, About NSF, http://www.nsf.org/business/about_NSF/; NSF, Q&A on the American National 
(continued...) 


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National Standards Institute (ANSI) 219 established a new nonfederal, voluntary standard, 
NSF/ANSI 305-2009e, for personal care products containing organic ingredients 220 The standard 
allows a labeling claim of “contains organic ingredients” to be made for products with 70% or 
higher organic content, if the products comply with the standard’s requirements, which include 
certification based on steps such as an application, on-site inspection, and technical review 221 The 
standard requires manufacturers to list the exact percent of organic content. 222 The standard can 
be used for “rinse-off and leave-on personal care and cosmetic products, as well as oral care and 
personal hygiene products” if such products comply with “materials, processes, production 
criteria, and conditions” specified in the standard. 2 ’ The major difference between the USD A 
NOP regulations and the NSF/ANSI standard is that the standard “allows for limited chemical 
processes that are typical for personal care products,” which are “methods considered synthetic 
under the NOP ” 224 According to NSF International, compliance with this standard may “provide 
a competitive advantage to those certified products” that contain organic ingredients 225 


"Not Tested on Animals" Labeling 

Many cosmetic products may contain ingredients or raw materials that have been tested on 
animals in the past, though no animal testing of the ingredients or product currently may be 
occurring. 226 While manufacturers may use “no animal testing” claims for their products, they 
still “may rely on raw material suppliers or contract laboratories to perform any animal testing 
necessary to substantiate product or ingredient safety.” 227 It may be confusing for consumers 
attempting to distinguish cosmetic products with ingredients that have never been tested on 
animals from cosmetic products that may use or contract for the use of animal testing at some 
point in the product’s path to commerce. 228 


(...continued) 

Standard for Personal Care Products Containing Organic Ingredients, http://www.nsf.org/business/newsroom/ 
press_releases/documents/110620_Contains-Organic-Ingredients-QA .pdf. 

219 ANSI is “a private, non-profit organization that administers and coordinates the U.S. voluntary standardization and 
conformity assessment system. ANSI standards are developed on the principles of due-process, participation, and 
consensus.” Q&A on the American National Standard for Personal Care Products Containing Organic Ingredients, 
http: //www.nsf. org/business/newsroom/press_releases/documents/110620_Contains-Organic-Ingredients-QA. pdf. 

220 NSF/ANSI 305 Personal Care Standard, NSF’s New “Contains Organic Ingredients” Standard for Personal Care 
Products Adopted as American National Standard, http://www.nsf.org/business/newsroom/articles/ 
0903_n3_nsf305.asp. 

221 NSF, Q&A, supra note 218. 

222 NSF, Q&A, supra note 218. 

223 NSF/ANSI 305 Personal Care Standard, NSF’s New “Contains Organic Ingredients” Standard for Personal Care 
Products Adopted as American National Standard, http://www.nsf.org/business/newsroom/articles/ 
0903_n3_nsf305.asp. 

224 NSF, Q&A, supra note 218. 

225 Ibid. 

226 FDA, Cruelty Free/Not Tested on Animals, http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/CosmeticLabelingLabelClaims/ 
LabelClaimsandExpirationDating/ucm2005202.htm. 

227 Ibid. 

228 Dana Canedy, P.&.G. to End Animal Tests for Most Consumer Goods, N.Y. Times, July 1, 1999, 
http://www.nytimes.com/1999/07/01/business/p-g-to-end-animal-tests-for-most-consumer-goods.html?scp=6&sq= 
cosmetics%20companies%20quietly%20ending%20animal%20tests&st=cse. 


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Some companies promote their products as not having been tested on animals, either because they 
contain all-natural ingredients or by labeling with such terms as “finished product not tested on 
animals,” “no animal ingredients,” or “cruelty free.” FDA does not define or prescribe the use of 
these terms, hi the absence of federal regulation on the use of such terms, animal rights groups 
have created programs where companies that self-certify that they are “cmelty free” may license 
the organization’s logo for use on their products. 229 


"For Professional Use Only" Labeling 

Certain information that is not required to appear in cosmetic product labeling may nonetheless 
be of interest to consumers and professionals who use and apply “for professional use only” 
cosmetic products. (The Appendix discusses the hazards potentially associated with one type of 
“for professional use only” product applied in keratin hair treatments, which are also known as 
Brazilian Blowouts.) This section provides general background on “for professional use only” 
cosmetic products. 

Cosmetics that are “consumer commodities” are required to list their ingredients, according to 
FDA regulations implementing the FPLA. 230 The ingredient listing requirement applies to 
products produced or distributed for retail sale and does not apply to “for professional use only” 
products used only by salons, if the salon does not also offer the product for purchase by its 
customers. 231 As a result, “cosmetologists and other professionals, as well as their clients, may 
not know what chemicals are in the cosmetics used in nonretail businesses, such as beauty 
salons.” 232 However, if a cosmetic product were labeled “for professional use only” but sold at 
retail, the ingredients must be listed, or the cosmetic product will be considered to be 
misbranded. 233 Ingredients used in “for professional use only” cosmetic products are not included 
in the VCRP. 234 

FDA does not define which cosmetic products are “For Professional Use Only.” Cosmetic 
manufacturers and beauty supply companies that produce these products may limit distribution of 
such products to salons and salon professionals. 23 " Despite manufacturer sale restrictions, some 
distributors have sold “for professional use only” products to retail stores, potentially in 
contravention of contracts or agreements between distributors and manufacturers regarding the 


229 PETA, PETA’s Caring Consumer Program, http://www.peta.org/about/leam-about-peta/caring-consumer- 
program.aspx. As another example, the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics’ (CCIC) Leaping Bunny 
Program allows cosmetics products that meet certain criteria for non-animal tested cosmetic products to bear a “leaping 
bunny” logo. For this program, the company makes voluntary guarantees regarding the company’s and supplier’s 
commitment not to test on animals, and the CCIC may require an independent audit. Coalition for Consumer 
Information on Cosmetics, The Corporate Standard of Compassion for Animals (“the Standard”), 
http://www.leapingbunny.org/pdf/Corporate_Standard_of_Compassion_for_Animals.pdf. The independent audit is 
commissioned either by the company or the CCIC, depending on the company’s gross annual sales, and is performed 
by an accredited auditing firm. Ibid, at 2. 

230 21 C.F.R. §701.3. 

231 15U.S.C. § 1459(a), 1453. 

232 GAO report, supra note 175, at 13. 

233 21 U.S.C. §362; FFDCA §602; 15 U.S.C. §1459(a). The FPLA limits “consumer commodities” to those products 
sold at retail. 

234 CIR, Final Amended Report, supra note 196, at 6. 

235 First Research, Industry Profile, Cosmetics, Beauty Supply, and Perfume Stores, May 23,2011. 


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sale of such products, as well as the misbranding prohibition of the FFDCA and related 
provisions in the FPLA. 236 


Conclusion 

Although FDA’s authorities over cosmetic products include some of those applicable to other 
FDA-regulated products, they are generally less comprehensive and exclude certain requirements 
imposed on other FDA-regulated products. The manner in which a cosmetic product could or 
should be regulated, however, is not always clear. FDA has issued regulations and procedures for 
cosmetics with which manufacturers voluntarily may choose to comply. Additionally, the 
cosmetic industry’s trade association has established a cosmetic ingredient review program for 
cosmetic manufacturers with the purpose of determining which cosmetic ingredients are safe 
under certain conditions of use. Nevertheless, some questions remain as to whether the FDA’s 
current oversight of cosmetic products and their ingredients is appropriate. 


236 Ibid.; GAO report, supra note 175, pp. 13-14; 15 U.S.C. §§1452(a), 1456(a). 


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Appendix. Keratin Hair Treatments, Also Known as 
"Brazilian Blowouts" 


Background 

Keratin hair treatment products reportedly smooth frizzy hair, straighten curly hair, and reduce 
blow drying and straightening times. Such treatments may also be known as “Brazilian 
Blowouts” after the name of one company’s products commonly used for such treatments. The 
treatments typically cost several hundred dollars, depending on the length and texture of one’s 
hair, and may last from six weeks to several months, depending on the type of treatment. Many 
brands of keratin hair treatment products have been found to contain free formaldehyde in 
solution (which tends to combine with water, forming methylene glycol), or other chemicals that 
convert into formaldehyde gas, whether or not they are labeled as “formaldehyde-free.” 237 
Formaldehyde and a related chemical, methylene glycol, are “known to induce a fixative action 
on proteins (e.g., keratin),” and therefore hair straightening solutions reportedly “maintain 
straightened hair by altering protein structures via amino acid crosslinking reactions, which form 
crosslinks between hair keratins and with added keratin from the formulation” of the hair 
product. 2 ' 8 

Questions have been raised about the accuracy of ingredient statements and the adequacy of 
safety warnings on product labels for keratin hair treatment products containing formaldehyde. 239 
Formaldehyde is a respiratory irritant and a known human carcinogen. The concern is that stylists 
who use such products, and consumers who are treated with them, may be exposed to harmful 
levels of formaldehyde without their informed consent, because many products are labeled 
“formaldehyde-free.” As discussed below, investigations by the National Institute for 
Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration 
(OSHA), and Health Canada have indicated that even products labeled “formaldehyde-free” may 
contain levels of the chemical considered potentially unsafe 240 While OSFL4 regulates workers’ 
exposure to formaldehyde and worker and workplace safety, as discussed below, FDA regulates 
cosmetic products containing formaldehyde. 241 

Members of Congress have requested that FDA take enforcement actions against such keratin hair 
treatment products, 242 and FDA has issued a warning letter indicating certain Brazilian Blowout 


237 OSHA, Hazard Alert: Hair Smoothing Products That Could Release Formaldehyde, http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/ 
formaldehy de/hazard_alert. html. 

238 CIR, Final Amended Report, supra note 196, p. 7. 

239 Keratins are hair proteins. California Department of Public Health, Occupational Health Branch, California Safe 
Cosmetics Program, Q&A: Brazilian Blowout & Other Hair Smoothing Salon Treatments, http://www.cdph.ca.gov/ 
programs/co smetic s/Documents/BrazilianBlo woutQA. pdf 

240 OSHA, OSHA Fact Sheet: Formaldehyde, http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/formaldehyde- 
factsheetpdf. NIOSH is an entity within CDC. 

241 Hair salons and stylists are regulated at the state level. States may require salons and barber shops to register with 
the state and stylists to apply for and possess a license. 

242 Letter to Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., Commissioner of Food and Drugs, FDA, from Reps. Schakowsky, 
Markey, Baldwin, Blumenauer, Conyers, Lowey, Moran, Lee, Chu, and Deutch, May 6,2011, 

http: //schakowsky .house, gov/images/ stories/ 

Letter_to_FDA_on_Dangerous_Chemicals_in_Brazilian_Blowout_Hair_Treatments.pdf. Hair salons and stylists are 
(continued...) 


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products are in violation of the FFDCA 243 FDA is evaluating hair straightening and hair 
smoothing products for safety on an individual basis. 244 The manufacturer of Brazilian Blowout 
products has argued that testing by OSHA and “alternate reputable institutions” indicated that its 
products fall below OSHA safety standards. 24 " OSHA has responded by asking the CEO of 
Brazilian Blowout to issue corrective statements to salon owners that “clearly stat[e] that OSHA 
air quality tests conducted ... have yielded results above acceptable OSHA limits.” 246 


Formaldehyde 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) attempts to quantify the risk that an individual will 
suffer adverse health effects due to particular levels of exposure to a chemical. According to EPA, 
formaldehyde: 

can cause watery eyes, burning sensations in the eyes and throat, nausea, and difficulty in 
breathing in some humans exposed at elevated levels (above 0.1 parts per million). High 
concentrations may trigger attacks in people with asthma. There is evidence that some people 
can develop a sensitivity to formaldehyde. It lias also been shown to cause cancer in animals 
and may cause cancer in humans. Health effects include eye, nose, and throat irritation; 
wheezing and coughing; fatigue: skin rash; severe allergic reactions. May cause cancer. 24 

The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) concurs and adds that 
exposure may lead to: 

neurological effects, and increased risk of asthma and/or allergy ... in humans breathing 0.1 
to 0.5 [parts formaldehyde per million parts of air (ppm)]. Eczema and changes in lung 
function have been observed at 0.6 to 1.9 ppm. Decreased body weight, gastrointestinal 
ulcers, and liver and kidney damage were observed in animals orally exposed to 50-100 
mg/kg/day formaldehyde. 248 


(...continued) 

regulated at the state level. States may require salons and barber shops to register with the state and stylists to apply for 
and possess a license. 

243 Letter from Michael W. Roosevelt, Acting Director, Office of Compliance, Center for Food Safety and Applied 
Nutrition, FDA, to Mike Brady, CEO, GIB, LLC, dba Brazilian Blowout, August 22,2011, http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/ 
EnforcementActions/W amingLetters/ucm270809.htm. 

244 FDA, Cosmetics: FDA, OSHA Act on Brazilian Blowout, October 21,2011, http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ 
ProductandIngredientSafety/ProductInformation/ucm228898.htm. 

245 Brazilian Blowout, Brazilian Blowout Now Working Directly with the FDA to Help Clear Up the Controversy, 
September 19,2011, http://www.brazilianblowout.com/fda. 

246 Letter from Frank Meilinger, Director, Office of Communication, Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and 
Health, U.S. Department of Labor, to Michael Brady, CEO, Oill LLC dba Brazilian Blowout, September 22,2011, 
http: //o sha. go v/SLT C / formaldehyde/brazilian_blo wout_letter.html. 

247 EPA, An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), Formaldehyde, http://www.epa.gov/iaq/ 
formaldehyde.html#Health Effects. EPA is conducting a risk assessment for formaldehyde in order to update 
information in its Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), a database of chemical toxicity information. A 1991 IRIS 
assessment classified formaldehyde as a probable human carcinogen. EPA currently is revising a draft updated risk 
assessment based on comments from reviewers at the National Academy of Sciences. 

248 Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR), Toxic Substances Portal - Formaldehyde, ToxFAQs ™ 
for Formaldehyde, http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/HLasp?id=219&tid=39. ATSDR is an entity within CDC. 


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The 12 th Report on Carcinogens (ROC), issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human 
Services' (HHS) National Toxicology Program (NTP) in June 2011 changed the classification of 
formaldehyde from “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen” to “known to be a human 
carcinogen,” based on its criterion that there is “sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from 
studies in humans, which indicates a causal relationship between exposure to the agent, 
substance, or mixture, and human cancer.” 249 This ROC listing does not necessarily mean that 
formaldehyde will cause an exposed individual to develop cancer; rather, it means that at some 
sufficient level of exposure to formaldehyde some humans will develop cancer. 

The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (1ARC) listed 
formaldehyde as a carcinogen in 2006. 25() OSHA recognizes the 1ARC list of carcinogens as well 
as the NTP ROC list for the purposes of its hazard communication standard, discussed below. 

OSHA Formaldehyde Standards 

Workers’ exposure to formaldehyde in general industries as well as shipyard employment and 
construction is regulated at the federal level and is addressed in OSHA standards or equivalent 
regulations in OSHA-approved state plans. 2 " 1 OSHA has issued rules on formaldehyde exposure 
limits, protective equipment, and cancer warning labels for products that contain formaldehyde. 2 " 2 
The agency also notes that “[s]hort-tenn exposure to formaldehyde can be fatal,” and that 
“[l]ong-term exposure to low levels of formaldehyde may cause respirator} 7 difficulty, eczema, 
and sensitization ” 253 

OSHA’s formaldehyde standard “applies to all occupational exposures to formaldehyde, i.e. from 
formaldehyde gas, its solutions, and materials that release formaldehyde.” 254 OSHAs 
formaldehyde standard states that “[t]he permissible exposure limit (PEL) for formaldehyde in the 
workplace is 0.75 parts formaldehyde per million parts of air (0.75 ppm) measured as an 8-hour 
time-weighted average.” 2 "" The standard also has short-term exposure limits of 2 ppm per 15- 
minute time period and sets a level at which “increased industrial hygiene monitoring and 
initiation of worker medical surveillance” is triggered. 2 " 9 OSHA notes that an “airborne 
concentration of formaldehyde above 0.1 ppm can cause irritation of the respiratory tract.” 257 

Employers who have workplaces covered by the OSHA standard are required to monitor their 
employees’ exposure to formaldehyde. 2 " 8 OSHA requires communication of formaldehyde’s 
potential health hazards for “[f]onnaldehyde gas, all mixtures or solutions composed of greater 


249 HHS, Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program, Report on Carcinogens (12 th ed.), http://ntp.nih.gov/go/ 
rocl2. 

250 Agents Classified by IARC Monographs, Volumes 1-102, http://monographs.iarc.ff/ENG/Classification/ 
ClassificationsAlphaOrder. pdf. 

251 OSHA, Safety and Health Topics, Formaldehyde, http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/formaldehyde/index.html/. 

252 Ibid. 

253 Ibid. 

254 29 C.F.R. §1910.1048(a). 

255 29 C.F.R. §1910.1048(c). 

256 Ibid. 

257 Ibid 

258 29 C.F.R. §1910.1048(d). 


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than 0.1 percent formaldehyde, and materials capable of releasing formaldehyde into the air, 
under reasonably foreseeable conditions of use, at concentrations reaching or exceeding 0.1 
ppm.” 259 Employers are required to ensure that such products have hazard warning labels if they 
are “capable of releasing formaldehyde at levels of 0.1 ppm to 0.5 ppm,” and if the products are 
“capable of releasing formaldehyde at levels above 0.5 ppm,” the labels must contain additional 
information and the words “Potential Cancer Hazard.” 26 Additionally, manufacturers and 
distributors of formaldehyde-containing products that meet the 0.1 percent level must “assure that 
material safety data sheets and updated information are provided to all employers purchasing 
such materials.” 261 Based on a settlement with the California Attorney General, the website for 
the Brazilian Blowout products now contains a Material Safety Data Sheet for Brazilian Blowout 
Acai Professional Smoothing Solution, which indicates that the product is classified as a 
hazardous substance and warns about using proper ventilation. 262 

Adverse Event Reports 

Hair salon stylists in Oregon first raised concerns about a hair smoothing product labeled 
“formaldehyde-free” when they began experiencing nosebleeds within a month of using the 
product and reportedly later developed chest pain and sore throats 263 One stylist contacted the 
Oregon Health and Science University’s Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental 
Toxicology, which conducted an investigation in 2010 with the Oregon Occupational Safety and 
Health Division. 264 Researchers found significant formaldehyde levels in 105 samples of hair 
smoothing treatments from 54 different salons. 265 Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health 
Division then issued alerts about the formaldehyde levels to over 21,000 state-licensed hair 
stylists. 266 Although products such as the Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Smoothing 
Solution were labeled “formaldehyde-free,” the tests found that the products had an average 
formaldehyde content of more than 8%. 267 Some products contained amounts of formaldehyde 
“well above what could legally be labeled as ‘formaldehyde-free.’” 268 

Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Division received reports of adverse events from 
stylists across the United States after its alert, which included “burning of eyes and throat, 
watering of eyes, dry mouth, loss of smell, headache and a feeling of w grogginess,’ malaise, 
shortness of breath and breathing problems, a diagnosis of epiglottitis attributed by the stylist to 


259 29 C.F.R. §1910.1048(m). 

260 29 C.F.R. §1910.1048(m)(3). 

261 29 C.F.R. §1910.1048(m)(4). 

262 Brazilian Blowout, Frequently Asked Questions, http://www.brazilianblowout.com/faq/; Brazilian Blowout, 
Material Safety Data Sheet, http://www.brazilianblowout.com/_literature_72696/Material_Safety_Data_Sheet.pdf. 

263 Katy Muldoon, Brazilian Blowout Drops Lawsuit Against Oregon OSH A and OSHU , OregonLive.com (March 2, 
2011), http://www.oregonlive.com/health/index.ssf/2011/03/brazilian_blowout_drops_lawsui.html; Oregon OSHA, A 
Division of the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, and CROET at Oregon Health & Sciences 
University, “Keratin-Based” Hair Smoothing Products and the Presence of Formaldehyde (2010), 

http: //www. oro sha. org/pdf/F inal_Hair_Smoothing_Report.pdf. 

264 Oregon OSHA, supra note 264, at 1. 

265 Ibid, at 2. 

266 Muldoon, supra note 264. 

267 Oregon OSHA, supra note 264, p. 2. 

268 OSHA, Hazard Alert: Hair Smoothing Products That Could Release Formaldehyde, http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/ 
formaldehy de/hazard_alert. html. 


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their use of the product, fingertip numbness, and dermatitis,” as well as reports of hair loss. 269 
FDA has received reports from state and local groups of “eye irritation, breathing problems, and 
headaches,” as well as adverse event reports from “hair stylists, their customers, and individual 
users” of similar symptoms, plus fainting, bronchitis, inhalation pneumonitis, and vomiting. 270 
Similarly, Health Canada reportedly received adverse reaction reports for hair products with 
formaldehyde from 50-60 individuals, which included “burning eyes, nose, throat and breathing 
difficulties, with one report of hair loss,” as well as reports of “headache, arthritis, dizziness, 
epistaxis [nosebleeds], swollen glands, and numb tongue.” 271 


NIOSH and OSHA Investigations 

hi December 2010, NIOSH conducted a health hazard evaluation of the Brazilian Blowout Acai 
Professional Smoothing Solution, as used by one hair stylist employee on another hair stylist in a 
salon. 272 The evaluation indicated that the solution's concentration of formaldehyde (greater than 
0.1%) was enough to merit the “hazard communication requirements of the OSHA formaldehyde 
standard.” ' OSHA has conducted its own investigations of keratin treatment products. 

OSFLAs investigations “found formaldehyde in the air when stylists used hair smoothing 
products,” even though not all of the products had “formaldehyde listed on their labels or in 
material safety data sheets as required by law.” 27 " OSHA air tests of one product labeled as 
“formaldehyde-free” exceeded OSHA's limits on formaldehyde. 270 OSHA has issued at least one 
citation to an employer after air sampling found that salon workers “were exposed to 
formaldehyde levels that exceeded OSHA's 15-minute short term exposure limit.” 277 

OSHA issued a Hazard Alert to hair salons indicating the hazards associated with the use of hair 
smoothing treatment products and the responsibilities of salons that use these products under the 
federal Occupational Safety and Health Act. 278 California and several other states have issued 
similar notices. 279 In August 2011, the CEO of Brazilian Blowout sent a letter to salon owners 
indicating that “all OSHA and independent air-quality tests conducted on the Brazilian Blowout 
Professional Smoothing Solution ... have yielded results well-below even the most stringent of 


269 CIR, Final Amended Report, supra note 196, p. 11. Epiglottitis is inflammation of tissues in the back of the throat. 

270 Ibid. Pneumonitis is inflammation of the lungs. 

271 CIR, Final Amended Report, supra note 196, at 11. 

272 Letter from Srinivas Durgam, Industrial Hygienist, and Elena Page, Medical Officer, Hazards Evaluations and 
Technical Assistance Branch, Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies, National Institute for 
Occupational Safety and Health, to Salon Owners (May 16,2011), http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/pdfs/HETA_l 1- 
0014_Interim_Letter_for_web. pdf 

273 Ibid at 6. 

274 OSHA, Hazard Alert, supra note 269. 

275 FDA, FDA Receives Complaints Associated With the Use of Brazilian Blowout, (May 24,2010), 
http: //www. fda. go v/Co smetic s/ProductandIngredientSafety/ProductInformation/ucm228898.htm. 

276 Ibid 

277 Letter from Frank Meilinger, Director, Office of Communication, Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and 
Health, U.S. Department of Labor, to Michael Brady, CEO, Oill LLC dba Brazilian Blowout (September 22,2011), 
http: //o sha. go v/SLT C / formaldehyde/brazilian_blo wout_letter.html. 

278 OSHA, Hazard Alert: Hair Smoothing Products That Could Release Formaldehyde, http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/ 
formaldehy de/hazard_alert. html. 

279 Cal/OSHA, Hair Smoothing Products that May Contain or Release Formaldehyde, http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/ 
HairSmoothingPageVersionlNovl 82010.pdf. 


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OSHA standards.” 280 In September 2011, OSHA issued a letter to the Brazilian Blowout CEO 
informing him that OSHA disagreed with his remarks and requesting that he immediately take 
corrective actions such as sending a correction or retraction to his letter to salon owners, “clearly 
stating that OSHA air quality tests conducted ... have yielded results above acceptable OSHA 
limits.” 281 

Actions by Other Countries 

hi 2011, Health Canada issued an advisory naming eleven keratin or similar smoothing hair 
treatment products with levels of formaldehyde ranging from 0.35% to 8.4%, which exceed the 
level of 0.2% at which it is “permitted as a preservative” in Canada. 282 Therefore, “hair smoothing 
products with formaldehyde levels” above 0.2% are banned from being sold in Canada. 28 ' This 
0.2% level for formaldehyde and its equivalents is also the upper limit recommended by the 
Cosmetic Ingredient Review panel. 284 Authorities in France and Germany have warned against 
the use of hair smoothing products with high concentrations of formaldehyde, and both France 
and Ireland took steps to remove products from the market. 285 

Cosmetic Ingredient Review Analysis 

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) recently re-evaluated the safety of formaldehyde and 
addressed the safety of methylene glycol, a compound fonned when formaldehyde is combined 
with water, in cosmetic products. 286 As mentioned in the body of this report, under the CIR 
program, expert panels analyze infonnation on the safety of ingredients used in cosmetic 
products. In October 2011, CIR issued a final amended report on formaldehyde and methylene 
glycol that stated that “[n]ot surprisingly, formaldehyde is an irritant at low concentration, 
especially to the eyes and the respiratory tract. Formaldehyde exposure can result in a 
sensitization reaction.” 287 CIR stated that its panel “continues to believe that formaldehyde gas 
can produce [nasopharyngeal] cancers at high doses.” 2SS 

CIRs expert panel “was concerned” with adverse event reports, which it noted were “consistent 
with measured air levels of formaldehyde in salons” using hair straightening products and 
indicated that not all ventilation controls were effective in allowing for safe use. 289 CIR cited the 


280 Letter from Frank Meilinger, Director, Office of Communication, Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and 
Health, U.S. Department of Labor, to Michael Brady, CEO, Oill LLC dba Brazilian Blowout, September 22,2011, 
http: //o sha. go v/SLT C/ formaldehyde/brazilian_blo wout_letter.html. 

281 Ibid. 

282 Press Release, Health Canada, Several Professional Hair Smoothing Solutions Contain Excess Levels of 
Formaldehyde (April 12,2011), http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/media/advisories-avis/_2011/201 l_56-eng.php. 

283 CIR, Final Amended Report, supra note 196, p. 7. 

284 Ibid. p. 17. “[I]n no case should the formalin concentration exceed 0.2% (w/w), which would be 0.074% (w/w) 
calculated as formaldehyde or 0.118% (w/w) calculated as methylene glycol.” 

285 CIR, Final Amended Report, supra note 196, p. 7. 

286 CIR, Final Amended Report, supra note 196. Neither formaldehyde nor methylene glycol is available commercially, 
but are “produced as an aqueous solution called formalin.” 

287 Ibid. p. 8. 

288 Ibid. p. 17. 

289 Ibid. pp. 17-18. 


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Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division’s workplace survey of ventilation efforts that 
ranged from “a building HVAC system, propping the business’s doors open, or operating ceiling 

fans.” 290 

The CIR panel concluded that “[i]n the present practices of use and concentration (on the order of 
10% formaldehyde/methylene glycol, blow drying and heating up to 450°F with a flat iron, 
inadequate ventilation, resulting in many reports of adverse effects), hair smoothing products 
containing formaldehyde and methylene glycol are unsafe.” 291 However, CIR found that 
formaldehyde and methylene glycol “are safe for use in cosmetics when formulated to ensure use 
at the minimal effective concentration, but in no case should the formalin [formaldehyde and 
water solution] concentration exceed 0.2%.” 29 “ As an example, the panel discussed the use and 
concentration of formaldehyde and methylene glycol in nail hardening products. 293 

An Assessment of FDA's Authorities 

Some Members of Congress and the chief scientist of an industry trade association have asked 
FDA to take action on keratin hair treatment products. 294 This section discusses FDA’s existing 
authorities and potential actions that the agency could take with regard to such cosmetic products, 
as well as the warning letter that FDA has issued to the CEO of Brazilian Blowout and actions by 
the California Attorney General. FDA does not have authority to regulate “the operation of salons 
or the practice of cosmetology.” 295 

FDA does not ban formaldehyde or methylene glycol in cosmetic products 296 According to the 
CIR, FDA’s voluntary cosmetic registration program contained 77 uses of formaldehyde and 
formaldehyde solution (formalin). 297 FDA has stated that the safety of formaldehyde “as a 
cosmetic ingredient depends on a variety of factors, such as its concentration in the final product 
and how the final product is used.” 298 FDA could issue a mle prohibiting or restricting the use of 
formaldehyde and formaldehyde solutions in cosmetic products if the agency concluded that such 
substances were poisonous or deleterious. 299 If such ingredients were deemed deleterious, their 


290 Ibid. p. 7. 

291 Ibid. p. 3,18. 

292 CIR, Final Amended Report, supra note 196, pp. 19,22. This amount “would be 0.074%(w/w) calculated as 
formaldehyde or 0.118%(w/w) calculated as methylene glycol.” 

293 Ibid, at 22. 

294 The Chief Scientist of the Personal Care Products Council has issued a statement recommending that FDA “take 
prompt and appropriate action to make sure these products have been fully tested and substantiated for safety under 
their conditions of use.” Additionally, the PCPC “strongly advise[d] consumers and beauticians not to use professional 
hair straightening products in the home,” and to ensure that salons that offer such treatments have proper ventilation. 
Press Release, Statement by John Bailey, Chief Scientist, Personal Care Products Council, on Cosmetic Ingredient 
Review (CIR) Expert Panel Preliminary Findings on Safety of Two Ingredients Used in Professional Hair Smoothing 
Products (March 9,2011), http://www.personalcarecouncil.org/newsroom/20110309. 

295 FDA, Cosmetics: FDA, OSHA Act on Brazilian Blowout (October 21,2011), http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ 
ProductandIngredientSafety/ProductInformation/ucm228898.htm. 

296 Letter from Phil Broadbent for Kristina Harper, Supervisory Congressional Affairs Specialist, to The Honorable 
Earl Blumenauer, House of Representatives, November 26,2010. 

297 CIR, Final Amended Report, supra note 196, p. 6. 

298 Letter from Phil Broadbent, supra note 296 (citing FDA, Nail Care Products, http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ 
ProductandIngredientSafety/ProductInformation/ucml27068.htm#forma). 

299 21 C.F.R. §700.11-700.27. 


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inclusion in a cosmetic product would render the product adulterated under the FFDCA. 300 It is a 
prohibited act to introduce an adulterated product into interstate commerce under the FFDCA and 
such an action may subject an individual or company to criminal penalties. 301 

FDA does not require a warning label on cosmetic products containing formaldehyde, formalin, 
methlyene glycol, or related chemicals. However, FDA is authorized to conduct rulemaking to 
require a warning statement on cosmetic products with such ingredients. FDA regulations provide 
that “[t]he label of a cosmetic product shall bear a warning statement whenever necessary or 
appropriate to prevent a health hazard that may be associated with the product.” 302 

FDA may take enforcement actions against adulterated or misbranded cosmetic products, such as 
cosmetic products with misleading labels. Labeling must be deemed to be misleading if it does 
not reveal material facts “in light of other representations made or suggested by statement, [or] 
word.” 30 ' FDA has indicated that the omission of material facts on the labeling of keratin hair 
treatment products—i.e. labeling these products “formaldehyde-free” when they in fact contain 
formaldehyde—could make such products misbranded under the FFDCA.' 14 

hi August 2011, FDA issued a warning letter to the CEO of Brazilian Blowout, noting that the 
product was both adulterated and misbranded under the FFDCA. 305 FDA asserted that the product 
was adulterated because the cosmetic “bears or contains a deleterious substance [methylene 
glycol] that may render it injurious to users under the conditions of use prescribed in your 
labeling.” 306 Additionally, FDA stated that the product was misbranded because “its label and 
labeling (including instmctions for use) makes misleading statements regarding the product’s 
ingredients and fails to reveal material facts with respect to consequences that may result from the 
use of the product.” 307 FDA advised the CEO to take corrective actions or face potential 
enforcement actions, including seizures and injunctions, and emphasized that manufacturers have 
a duty to ensure the products they market are safe and in compliance with FDA requirements. 308 

Depending on how “formaldehyde free” hair keratin products have been advertised, the Federal 
Trade Commission also may be authorized to initiate an action for deceptive advertising. ' (1) 

Action by state attorneys general may also be possible. The California Attorney General's office 
filed a lawsuit against one company for labeling violations, deceptive advertising, and violations 
of state cosmetics and toxics acts. ' 11 The lawsuit resulted in a settlement with the manufacturer 


300 21 U.S.C. §361 (a); FFDCA §601(a). 

301 FFDCA §§301, 303. 

302 21 C.F.R. §740.1(a). 

303 21 C.F.R. §1.21 (a)(1). 

304 Letter from Phil Broadbent, supra note 296. 

305 Letter from Michael W. Roosevelt, Acting Director, Office of Compliance, Center for Food Safety and Applied 
Nutrition, FDA, to Mike Brady, CEO, GIB, LLC, dba Brazilian Blowout, August 22,2011, http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/ 
EnforcementActions/W amingLetters/ucm270809. htm. 

306 Ibid, (referencing 21 U.S.C. §361(a)). 

307 Ibid, (referencing 21 U.S.C. §321(n)). 

308 Ibid. 

309 15 U.S.C. §52. 

310 California’s Department of Public Health released a question and answer document in response to inquires from hair 
stylists and customers that indicated that employers were required by California’s OSHA standards “to protect their 
employees from exposure to hazardous airborne chemicals in California workplaces.” California Department of Public 
Health, Occupational Health Branch, California Safe Cosmetics Program, Q&A: Brazilian Blowout & Other Hair 
(continued...) 


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requiring a “CAUTION” warning on two of its products (including a California Proposition 65 
cancer warning); the production of a Material Safety Data Sheet and its posting on the company’s 
website; the end of deceptive advertising, including modifications to the company’s website; 
retesting of products at approved laboratories; reporting to the California Department of Public 
Health Safe Cosmetics Program; the disclosure of refund policies; proof of professional licensing 
before sale of professional use only products; civil penalties; and attorneys fees. 311 

As discussed earlier in this report, FDA does not have the authority to require premarket approval 
or premarket review of cosmetic ingredients or cosmetic products, except for color additives. 312 
Additionally, FDA cannot mandate that a company recall a product that may violate the FFDCA 
or FPLA, but the agency can request that a manufacturer voluntarily recall a cosmetic product.' 1 ' 
Nor does the agency have the authority to mandate adverse event reports for interactions that 
consumers experience from the use of a company’s products. However, as indicated earlier, FDA 
has encouraged consumer reporting of adverse events associated with cosmetics. The agency’s 
website discusses complaints regarding the use of Brazilian Blowout and other hair smoothing 
products and urges consumers and salon professionals to report adverse events to FDA.' 14 

Finally, FDA cannot require professional use cosmetic products, such as Brazilian Blowout, to list 
their ingredients if they are not “consumer commodities”—products produced or distributed for 
retail sale—under the FPLA.' 1 " However, if a cosmetic product was labeled “for professional use 
only” but sold at retail, the ingredients must be listed, or the cosmetic will be considered to be 
misbranded. ' 16 FDA stated in November 2010 that it was “investigating whether or not Brazilian 
Blowout is marketed directly to consumers. If so, failure to comply with the ingredient 
declaration requirement would constitute misbranding.” 317 


Author Contact Information 


Amalia K. Corby-Edwards 

Analyst in Public Health and Epidemiology 

acorbyedwards@crs.loc.gov, 7-0423 


(...continued) 

Smoothing Salon Treatments, March 3,2011, http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/cosmetics/Documents/ 

BrazilianBlo woutQA .pdf. 

311 Press Release, State of California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General, Attorney General Kamala 
D. Harris Announces Settlement Requiring Honest Advertising over Brazilian Blowout Products, January 30,2012, 
http: //ag. ca. go v/newsalerts/print_release .php?id=2617. 

312 21 C.F.R. §721. 

313 Letter from Phil Broadbent, supra note 296. 

314 FDA, Cosmetics, FDA Receives Complaints Associated with the Use of Brazilian Blowout, May 24,2010, 
http: //www. fda. go v/Co smetics/ProductandIngredientSafety/Product!nformation/ucni228898.htm. 

315 21 C.F.R. §701.3. 

316 21 U.S.C. §362; FFDCA §602; 15 U.S.C. §1459(a). 

317 Letter from Phil Broadbent, supra note 296. 


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Acknowledgments 

Carrie Newton Lyons, Section Research Manager/Legislative Attorney; Irma E. Arispe, Section Research 
Manager; Vanessa K. Burrows, former Legislative Attorney; Sarah A. Lister, Specialist in Public Health 
and Epidemiology; Donna V. Porter, former Specialist in Nutrition and Food Safety; Linda-Jo Schierow, 
Specialist in Environmental Policy; and Scott Szymendera, Analyst in Disability Policy, contributed to this 
report. 


For assistance with legal issues on this topic contact Jody Feder, Legislative Attorney, or Jennifer Stamaa 
Legislative Attorney. 


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